Cape Town – The Southern Kings and Cheetahs will be determined to get off to a fresh start in the PRO14 this weekend as the competition resumes after a revitalising two-week break.
The Southern Kings, with a new captain in lock JC Astle, will host the Scarlets at the Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth on Friday (19:00), while the Cheetahs take on the Cardiff Blues in Bloemfontein on Saturday (19:15).
While the men from Port Elizabeth have won one of their first six matches, the Cheetahs’ best result was a draw against Ulster – although the Bloemfontein outfit will draw inspiration from the fact that they were in the lead at some point in a handful of their matches.
The Southern Kings – with Astle replacing regular skipper Michael Willemse who has been ruled out for up to three months due to a shoulder injury – have faced 2017 finalists, the Scarlets, three times since joining the competition last season, but they have yet to beat them.
However, Deon Davids’ men came close in Port Elizabeth last season, where they suffered a heart-breaking 34-30 defeat. This result, which the Scarlets followed up with a comprehensive 54-14 victory against the Southern Kings in September, is expected to inspire them as they go in search of their second victory this season.
The Scarlets will enter the match with four victories in six outings, but the Southern Kings would have taken note that both defeats by the Welshmen were away from home.