Toyota Cheetahs In A Must Win Against Ulster

Photo by Riaan Trossee/

Kingspan Stadium will play host to what could be a huge match in the final complexion of Conference A, come the end of the regular Guinness PRO14 season. Second plays third as Ulster Rugby welcome Toyota Cheetahs in one of the picks of the Round 12 fixtures, with both teams coming off the back of disappointing defeats last weekend.

Only six points separate them in the standings and a victory for either side would provide a significant boost to their Final Series ambitions as the campaign reaches the business end.

The Toyota Cheetahs’ track record against Ulster will certainly give the side confidence going into the clash, with one win, a draw and a defeat in their last three outings in the competition. However, Ulster is unbeaten in their last twenty matches at Kingspan Stadium in all competitions since Connacht beat them there in Guinness PRO14 in October 2018.

James Hume and Michael Lowry have completed their returns from injury to start at inside centre and full back for Ulster as they look ahead to their game against the South African side.

The pair are among the five changes to the starting Ulster side that was narrowly defeated 26-24 by Ospreys last Saturday, with Nick Timoney and Jordi Murphy also returning to the starting line-up.

Meanwhile, Coach Hawies Fourie made nine changes to the side from last week. In the front row, Boan Venter, Wilmar Arnoldi and Luan du Bruin switch places with Charles Marais, Joseph Dweba and Aranos Coetzee. 

 Sintu Manjezi returns from a shoulder injury and will be starting on lock with Walt Steenkamp. JP du Preez will be providing cover on the bench. The wings are Craig Barry and Rhyno Smith with Clayton Blommetjies on the fullback. 

“Having spent seven years at Ulster it will be a strange feeling running out at the Kingspan Stadium wearing a different jersey, but I am looking forward to it,” said Pienaar.

“It’s been a while since I played there, and I know how brilliant their supporters are. It is obviously a very important game for us and we are desperate to get the result. We will have to perform a lot better than in our last game, but training has gone well this week.”


Ulster: 15. Michael Lowry, 14. Robert Baloucoune, 13. Luke Marshall, 12. James Hume, 11. Louis Ludik, 10. Bill Johnston, 9. David Shanahan; 1. Eric O’Sullivan, 2. Adam McBurney, 3. Marty Moore, 4. Alan O’Connor (c), 5. Kieran Treadwell, 6. Nick Timoney, 7. Jordi Murphy, 8. Marcell Coetzee.Replacements: 16. John Andrew, 17. Andrew Warwick, 18. Tom O’Toole, 19. David O’Connor, 20. Sean Reidy, 21. Jonny Stewart, 22. Stewart Moore, 23. Craig Gilroy

Toyota Cheetahs: 15. Clayton Blommetjies, 14. Rhyno Smith, 13. William Small-Smith, 12. Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 11. Craig Barry, 10. Tian Schoeman, 9. Ruan Pienaar (c); 1 Boan Venter, 2. Wilmar Arnoldi, 3. Luan de Bruin, 4. Sintu Manjezi, 5. Walt Steenkamp, 6. Chris Massyn, 7. Junior Pokomela, 8. Jasper Wiese. Replacements: 16. Joseph Dweba, 17. Charles Marais, 18. Aranos Coetzee, 19. JP du Preez, 20. Aidon Davis, 21. Tian Meyer, 22. Louis Fouche, 23. Chris Smit