Need to Know: Cheetahs v Glasgow Warriors, PRO14 match preview 2018/19

KO 6.30pm GMT (7.30pm local time)
Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein
Saturday 15th September 2018

Live on FreeSports *

After a summer of seeing their playing stocks raided by clubs all around the world a very different Cheetahs’ side will face Glasgow compared to the one on show at the Toyota Stadium last season. Only skipper William Small-Smith and prop Charles Marais return from the starting XV that featured in the ding dong battle 11 months ago which was ultimately settled by Rob Harley’s late try. Eight men are back for the Warriors including the recalled Ruaridh Jackson who must have happy (if slightly breathless) memories of playing in Bloemfontein.


15 Malcolm Jaer
14 William Small-Smith
13 Benhard Janse van Rensburg
12 Nico Lee
11 Rabz Maxwane
10 Tiaan Schoeman
9 Tian Meyer
15 Ruaridh Jackson
14 Tommy Seymour
13 Alex Dunbar
12 Peter Horne
11 DTH van der Merwe
10 Adam Hastings
9 Ali Price

1 Charles Marais
2 Joseph Dweba
3 Aranos Coetzee
4 Walt Steenkamp
5 JP du Preez
6 Gerhard Olivier
7 Junior Pokomela
8 Aidon Davis

1 Oli Kebble
2 Fraser Brown
3 Zander Fagerson
4 Scott Cummings
5 Jonny Gray
6 Robert Harley
7 Callum Gibbins (c)
8 Adam Ashe

16 Jacques du Toit
17 Ox Nche
18 Gunther van Rensburg
19 Dennis Visser
20 Niell Jordaan
21 Marnus van der Merwe
22 Shaun Venter
23 Ryno Elksteen

16 George Turner
17 Alex Allan
18 D’arcy Rae
19 Matt Fagerson
20 Chris Fusaro
21 George Horne
22 Nick Frisby
23 Huw Jones

Head to Head:

Back 3 – ADV Glasgow
Centres – ADV Glasgow
Half Backs – EVEN
Front Row – EVEN
Second Row – ADV Glasgow
Back Row – ADV Glasgow
Subs – EVEN

Glasgow Greetings:

After an absence of nearly 5 months and with only one Glasgow game since January under his belt, Huw Jones returns to the matchday squad. His late arrival last year allied to Scotland duties and injury woes mean this will be just the 5th PRO14 game of his career so far. Hopefully that’s a number that’s going to increase rapidly in the coming months.

Matchday Milestones:

Alex Dunbar returns to the number 13 shirt and makes his 100th start for Glasgow in the process. The last couple of weeks have seen the big centre make rare excursions from the bench (he’d only been a sub 3 times in the previous 5 seasons) so he should be itching to get into the action from the first whistle on Saturday.

Bob Harley continues to rack up the firsts for the Warriors – he’ll become the only player in the club’s history to make 150 appearances in the PRO14 when he runs out at Bloemfontein.

Warriors One to Watch:

The last few weeks should have put the smile back on the face of Oli Kebble after an injury-hit first season with Glasgow. There was certainly a broad grin on show after a number of strong scrums against Munster – a side who pride themselves on giving nothing away at the setpiece.

The giant South African prop has a chance to really enjoy himself back on home turf over the next two weeks and make a statement to fans new and old about just how good he can be. He’s averaging 20 carries + tackles per 80 minutes so far this season which is a healthy workrate for a man of his size.

It’s at the coalface that Warriors’ fans will want to see him really make a difference though. The Cheetahs’ scrum will provide a decent test as he continues to cement his place in the Glasgow line-up. Dave Rennie will be hoping that Oli can lead a 920kg pack (the largest selected so far this season) to another dominant performance.

Glasgow away to Cheetahs in the PRO12/14 era:

  • 1 win
  • 1 Try BP
  • 5 points out of a possible 5 (100%)

Previous match-up:

Key stat – last season in the PRO14:

1. Scarlets – 159
2. Ulster – 184
3. Leinster – 190
4. Ospreys – 193
5. Munster – 202
6. Dragons – 205
7. Edinburgh – 209
8. Zebre – 212
9. Connacht – 219
10. Glasgow – 227
11. Cardiff Blues -228
12. Benetton – 245
13. Cheetahs – 251
14. Kings – 252

There did seem to be a lot of cheap penalties conceded by the Warriors during the last campaign – particularly compared to their key rivals in the title race. With just 5 yellow cards (only the Scarlets managed fewer with 1) it didn’t seem to be significant offences that were holding the club back in this area but more those careless moments that can hopefully be avoided.

Both South African sides struggled with their discipline, in part due to spending a lot of time under the cosh when they were on their travels. The Cheetahs weren’t averse to a yellow card either, picking up 13 during the regular season – only Benetton (15) suffered more sin bins. The side from Bloemfontein probably ought to have done a lot better in this area than their South African rivals, the Kings, given the disparity in their level of on-field success.

Both sides will be looking to take advantage of any indiscipline on Saturday. With the ball carrying farther at altitude even penalties 60 metres plus from the tryline will be seen as scoring opportunities – either through going for the posts or kicking deep into the opposition 22.


Referee: Frank Murphy (IRFU, 16th Championship game)
AR1: Andrew Brace (IRFU)
AR1: Cwengile Jadezweni (SARU)
TMO: Sean Veldsman (SARU)

Mr. Murphy’s record last season in the PRO14:

Matches – 9 (all refs – 147)
Average penalty count – 19.4 per game (all refs – 19.0)
Home penalty percentage – 52% (all refs – 53%)
Average card count – 0.7 per game (all refs – 0.9)
Penalties per card – 29 (all refs – 22)

Glasgow really struggled in their last encounter with Mr. Murphy, during what was the whistler’s first full season on the PRO14’s Elite Referee panel. The game at Scotstoun against Connacht was a comfortable enough win but 15 penalties, 2 yellow cards and a penalty try tell their own story when it comes to discipline. The scrum was particularly troublesome with the Warriors’ props copping 5 penalties and one of the sin bins (for Alex Allan).

The back row didn’t fare much better, matching their colleagues with 5 penalties and the other yellow card (for Bob Harley). Dave Rennie will be expecting a much more precise performance at the setpiece and breakdown from his pack and they’ll need to tailor their approach to Mr. Murphy’s tendencies.

* Other coverage:

Match re-runs on FreeSports:

  • Sunday 16th September at 2.00am
  • Sunday 16th September at 10.00am
  • Sunday 16th September at 11.00pm
  • Monday 17th September at 8.00am

Highlights of all matches in Round 3:

  • Premier Sports 1 – Sunday 16th September at 5.30pm
  • FreeSports – Monday 17th September at 7.00pm

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