Local Guiness Pro14 fans will have a choice between Do or Die and Pride this weekend as the Southern Kings and Toyota Cheetahs enter the dying phases of the competition.
It will be a case of do or die for the Toyota Cheetahs in the fourth-last pool round of Guinness PRO14 on Saturday as they meet the Glasgow Warriors in Scotland in a match that could seal their fate in the competition.
The Isuzu Southern Kings, meanwhile, will be determined to create an upset against playoff contenders, Ulster, in Ireland on Saturday as they look to build on a season in which they challenged a number of teams at home and away.
These matches will mark the teams’ final tour games of the season.
Isuzu Southern Kings target upset against Ulster
The Isuzu Southern Kings and Ulster will both enter their clash at the Kingspan Stadium in Belfast highly motivated to win despite being in vastly different positions in the competition.
While the men from Port Elizabeth will be playing for pride and to avoid slipping to the foot of the log table, Ulster will be fighting to remain in the top three in Conference B with an eye on the final stages, especially with the Scarlets and Edinburgh hot on their heels.
Ulster have won all three matches between the sides dating back to 2017, the last of which was a 28-7 victory in Port Elizabeth in September.
The sides have been closely matched in terms of their attacking ability this season, with Ulster scoring 46 tries and the Isuzu Southern Kings 44, however, the hosts’ solid defence allowed them to power their way to the top-end of the standings.
With a number of narrow defeats to their name this season and nothing to lose, however, coach Deon Davids’ men will give everything as they go in search of their third victory of the season.
- Date: Saturday, 23 March
- SA time: 19h30
- Venue: Kingspan Stadium, Belfast
- Referee: Lloyd Linton (SRU)
- Assistant referees: Sam Grove-White (SRU) and Graeme Ormiston (SRU)
- TMO: Andrew McMenemy (SRU)
- TV: SS1
Must-win clash for Toyota Cheetahs in Glasgow
The Toyota Cheetahs will enter their match against Conference A leaders, the Glasgow Warriors, at the Scotstoun Stadium mindful of the fact that while a victory would keep them in the Guinness PRO14 playoff-race, a defeat will probably dash all hopes of advancing to the final stages.
With the Free Stater’s trailing the third and fourth-placed Connacht and Cardiff Blues by 11 log points and Ospreys by three points, they need to win all four of their matches, some with bonus points, while hoping that their rivals slip up, to keep alive their slim hopes of snapping up the last Conference A playoff.
Should they suffer a defeat without a bonus point on Saturday, however, and Connacht or the Cardiff Blues win their matches with a bonus point, the Toyota Cheetahs would drop out of the race.
The teams have met three times before with Glasgow winning all of those encounters, but with their backs against the wall coach Franco Smith’s men will be desperate to change this.
The Toyota Cheetahs will be buoyed by the fact that they have scored only four tries fewer than the hosts this season, but they will have to be sharp on defence after conceding 28 more tries in their 17 matches.
- Date: Saturday, 23 March
- SA time: 21h45
- Venue: Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow
- Referee: George Clancy (IRFU)
- Assistant referees: Andrew Brace (IRFU), Dunx McClement (SRU)
- TMO: Brian MacNiece (IRFU)
- TV: SS1
Other Round 18 matches (SA kick-off times):
Friday, 22 March:
- 21h35: Cardiff Blues v Scarlets – Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff
- 21h35: Connacht v Benetton – The Sportsground, Galway
- 21h35: Edinburgh v Leinster – BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Saturday, 23 March:
- 17h00: Ospreys v Dragons – Liberty Stadium, Swansea
- 21h45: Munster v Zebre Rugby Club – Thomond Park, Limerick