Ospreys' PRO14 fate in Cheetahs hands

Rabz Maxwane (Getty Images)
Rabz Maxwane (Getty Images)

Cape Town - The Cheetahs can expect a fierce challenge from Ospreys, who are fighting for survival in the PRO14 Conference A playoff race, when they meet in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

The visitors are in a similar situation to that which the Free Staters faced two weeks ago, as they need to win all of their remaining matches with bonus points to keep alive their slim hopes of progressing beyond the pool stages.

The Cheetahs will enter their match against Ospreys with one goal in mind when the teams take to the field at the Toyota Stadium on Saturday, and that will be to return to winning ways at home.

With the Welshmen under immense pressure to win to keep alive their slender hopes of sneaking into the playoffs, the hosts will be wary of the fact that they hold Ospreys' fate in their hands. As things stand, the visitors need to win all three of their remaining pool matches, while hoping that Connacht and the Cardiff Blues slip up to stay in the race.

The teams have met three times before, with the Free Staters winning the clash in Bloemfontein in 2017, while Ospreys' won the last two outings on their home patch. One of these victories, however, was by a single point, which will serve as extra inspiration for the home side.

The last time the Cheetahs registered a victory was in Bloemfontein on February 2 - which marked back-to-back home wins for them - and this will be a big talking point among Franco Smiths' charges as they look to take advantage of a home stretch featuring three home games.

The Free Staters will enter the match with a superior attack after scoring 64 tries to Ospreys' 40 this season, which will give them confidence, but they will need to support this with a tenacious defensive effort, as the visitors have conceded close to two tries fewer per match on average this season.

Speedster Rabz Maxwane, with an impressive 13 tries to his name, is currently still the top try-scorer in the competition with a five-try buffer over his closest rivals - a record he would undoubtedly like to extend as the pool rounds reach a conclusion.

Tian Schoeman, meanwhile, who is currently in fifth place on the list of the top points' scorers with 96 points, will have his sights set on hitting triple digits this weekend.

Kick-off is at 17:30.

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