Irish PRO14 giants in South Africa

Franco Smith (Gallo Images)
Franco Smith (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - The Southern Kings and Cheetahs will face a challenging task in the PRO14 this weekend as they line up against two of the top six sides in the competition in exciting clashes on Sunday, with Irish powerhouses Leinster and Munster visiting South Africa.

The Southern Kings will take on Leinster, who have only suffered one defeat this season, at the Nelson Mandela University, while the Cheetahs host Munster, who have lost only two matches, at the Free State Stadium.

While the men from Port Elizabeth come off a strong-willed 41-34 defeat last weekend against 2017 runners up, the Scarlets, they will expect an energetic onslaught from the visitors, who will be hunting their sixth straight win this season after a big 31-3 victory against Benetton in Italy last week.

The last time the teams met was in February, and Leinster won that match 64-7. They also won the previous game between the sides 31-10, which will be a big motivating factor for the Southern Kings going into the clash.

The Southern Kings squad has been bolstered by the addition of former Sharks and Pumas scrumhalf Stefan Ungerer, and former Junior Springbok prop Nicolaas Ooshuizen, but they also received some bad news as Andisa Ntsila (knee) and Luvuyo Pupuma (shoulder) have been ruled out of contention for selection due to injuries.

In Bloemfontein, the Cheetahs will attempt to register their first victory against Munster in the PRO14 after going down in all three previous clashes between the sides, while they will also be determined to avenge their 38-0 defeat in the last outing between the sides.

They will, however, draw inspiration from their first victory of the season last week against the Cardiff Blues, and the fact that they came close to a victory in their last home match against Munster in April, in which they went down 19-17.

Franco Smith’s charges, however, will have to be sharp on defence to keep alive their hopes of back-to-back victories, as Munster - whose head coach Johann van Graan is a former Springbok assistant coach - are the joint top point scorers in the competition with the Glasgow Warriors, with the teams having racked up 221 points apiece in their seven matches to date.

Such was the high quality of Munster’s attack when the sides met in the opening round of the competition this season, they crossed the tryline and six times and denied the Cheetahs from earning a point - a result the hosts will want to make up for this time around.

PRO 14 Round 7 fixtures (Sunday, November 4):

Southern Kings v Leinster
SA time: 14:45
Venue: Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth
Referee: Lloyd Linton (SRU)
Assistant referees: Ben Crouse and Paul Mente
TMO: Johan Greeff

Cheetahs v Munster
SA time: 16:45
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Referee: Marius Mitrea (FIR)
Assistant referees: Cwengile Jadezweni and Ruhan Meiring
TMO: Shaun Veldsman

Other Round 8 matches (SA kick-off times):

Friday, November 2
21:35 - Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors - Liberty Stadium, Swansea
21:35 - Edinburgh v Scarlets - Murrayfield, Edinburgh

Saturday, November 3
17:00 - Benetton v Ulster - Stadio Monigo, Treviso
19:15 - Connacht v Dragons - The Sportsground, Galway

Sunday, November 4
16:45 - Cardiff Blues v Zebre - Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff

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