The Toyota Cheetahs Favourites Against Section Paloise?


Two teams with almost identical Pool B records meet in Round 4 of the EPCR Challenge Cup as Toyota Cheetahs host Section Paloise in a crucial encounter on Sunday at 15:15 (SA Time).

Both teams have won one and lost two heading into the pool stage finale and sit level on six points. Pau hover just inside the all-important top six, while Toyota Cheetahs are just outside on points difference.

It is set to be a hotly contested affair at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi in Parma, in the reverse fixture last month, Toyota Cheetahs came away with a battling 21-16 victory in France.

For the Toyota Cheetahs, victory is non-negotiable against Section Paloise in Parma to keep alive their hopes of forcing their way into the knock-out stages.

Given the narrow margins between the sides on the attack, with the Free Staters having scored only six more points than their French opponents and the fact that both sides come off narrow defeats last week, it could be a gripping match.

Prediction: Cheetahs by 3.

Daniel Maartens will be wearing the nr. 6 jersey, replacing the injured Sibabalo Qoma (ankle), with Roelof Smit providing cover on the bench.

Andell Loubser and Tapiwa Mafura switch places with Mafura in the starting line-up.

In a late change Robert Ebersohn replace Reinhardt Fortuin (calf injury). Evardi Boshoff.

"Sunday is an important game for us. We said from the start that we wanted to reach the top 6. We want to do well and use the opportunity to show that the Toyota Cheetahs belong in international rugby." Said Coach Hawies Fourie.

"The forecast for Sunday is between zero and minus four degrees celsius, so it will be cold, but no rain is expected, making it possible to handle the ball well, keep it through phases, and play an attacking brand of rugby.

"A win on Sunday will show the fighting spirit of the people of the Free State," said Toyota Cheetah Defence Coach Charl Strydom.


Toyota Cheetahs: 15. Tapiwa Mafura, 14. Daniel Kasende, 13. David Brits, 12. Robert Ebersohn, 11. Munier Hartzenberg, 10. Siya Masuku, 9. Rewan Kruger, 8. Jeandré Rudolph, 7. Friedle Olivier, 6. Daniel Maartens, 5. Victor Sekekete (c), 4. Rynier Bernardo, 3. Aranos Coetzee, 2. Louis van der Westhuizen, 1. Schalk Ferreira. Replacements: 16 Marko Janse van Rensburg, 17 Alulutho Tshakweni, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Mzwanele Zito, 20 Roelof Smit, 21 Branden de Kock, 22 Evardi Boshoff, 23 Andell Loubser.

Section Paloise: 15 Théo Attissogbe, 14 Clément Laporte, 13 Yvan Reilhac, 12 Nathan Decron, 11 Daniel Ikpefan, 10 Thibault Debaes, 9 Clovis Lebail, 8 Jordan Joseph, 7 Martin Puech (captain), 6 Sacha Zegueur, 5 Mickael Capelli, 4 Guillaume Ducat, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Romain Ruffenach, 1 Ignacio Calles. Replacements: 16 Lucas Rey, 17 Rémi Seneca, 18 Guram Papidze, 19 Lekima Tagitagivalu, 20 Thibaut Hamonou, 21 Reece Hewat, 22 Dan Robson, 23 Tumua Manu.