Cheetahs target bonus point win

Kings face tough clash at Madibaz Stadium

AIMING HIGH: Cheetahs coach Franco Smith wants a big haul of points against the Isuzu Southern Kings
AIMING HIGH: Cheetahs coach Franco Smith wants a big haul of points against the Isuzu Southern Kings

The Cheetahs will have their claws out for the Isuzu Southern Kings when the sides clash in the first South African derby of the Guinness PRO14 season at the Madibaz Stadium on Friday.

After scoring a valuable 27-12 win on the road against Italian side Zebre in their last outing, the Cheetahs now have the struggling Kings in their sights.

The Cheetahs care targeting 15 points from their double header against the Kings and the return game against Zebre in South Africa.

After Friday’s clash, the Cheetahs will host the Kings in Bloemfontein on February 2.

“We have an interesting three weeks ahead of us in the PRO14,”  Cheetahs coach Franco Smith said.  

We have an interesting three weeks ahead of us in the PRO14
Franco Smith, Cheetahs coach

“The Cheetahs are just going to claw our way back into finding our rhythm. We want to regain our form and get better at what we do.

“We want to roll out our best performance every week. These guys have made that commitment so that is what we will be trying.”

In preparation for Friday’s clash the Cheetahs had a contact session against the Shimlas Varsity Cup side.

The Kings, meanwhile, are sweating over the fitness of two key players.

Fullback Masixole Banda is receiving attention after getting a knock to his leg and centre Tertius Kruger is scheduled to have an x-ray to an injured hand.

Kings team doctor, Gershwin Kortje, side the team returned to South Africa with minimal injuries after being beaten 38-0 by Edinburgh

“We are fortunate to have returned with no major injuries from the short tour to Scotland. There are a few knocks and bruises, as can be expected,” Kortje said.

“We do, however, have Tertius Kruger going for X-rays on Tuesday after injuring his hand in the weekend’s match. We will only be able to know the extent of the injury after the X-ray results are available.

“Masixole Banda also got a knock to the leg. We will be assessing that injury this week to ascertain how serious it is.”

Dr Kortje also confirmed that there will also be an assessment of all the players on the Kings’ injury list this week to gauge their progress so far.

“We will also have a look at the players who have been on our injury list to see how far off they are from making a return to play. We cannot at this stage confirm whether there are any players from that who will be fit for our next match against the Cheetahs until they are assessed.”

In addition to their injury worries, the Kings will also be without prop Pieter Scholtz who has been banned for three weeks after being found guilty of eye-gouging during his team’s last match against Edinburgh.

The current injury list is:

Martin Dreyer (knee, out for the season)

Bobby de Wee (shoulder, out for the season)

Henry “Bakkies” Brown (ankle)

Xandre Vos (neck)

Oliver Zono (knee)

Sibusiso Sithole (knee)

Rossouw de Klerk (chest)