Toyota Cheetahs Need To Show That They “Deserve” To Play In EPCR Challenge Cup


The Toyota Cheetahs are set to make their long-awaited return to international club rugby when they face Section Paloise at the Stade du Hameau in Pau, France on Saturday at 15h00 (SA Time), in their first clash of the EPCR Challenge Cup.

The South African side will use Zebre’s ground, the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, for their home games, rather than welcoming sides to Bloemfontein.

Toyota Cheetahs head coach Hawies Fourie said: "Pau play with high intensity, and they are a skilful team. They are not afraid to attack and to put you under pressure.

"This game will definitely be a step up for us. We also like to play high intensity, so it will suit us. We need to execute well what we plan to do.

"We know that there is a lot of pressure and expectations from the outside, and we have a responsibility to do well. We can now measure ourselves against these guys. It is a privilege to have the opportunity, and we'll make the best of it.

"We're trying to use the player's skills as well as we can in the conditions they are going to play in."

Pau is only two places above bottom side CA Brive in the TOP 14, but they have won three of their last four games, including an outstanding 38-21 away win over reigning Heineken Champions Cup holders Stade Rochelais in October.

Section Paloise, or Pau as they are also known, have a formidable squad, including former Toyota Cheetahs prop Maks van Dyk, as well as former All Black flanker Luke Whitelock and Wallaby fullback Jack Maddocks.

The French side reached the EPCR Challenge Cup final in 2005, where they lost 27-3 to Sale Sharks. However, they haven’t made it past the group stages since the 2017/18 season.

Prediction: Toyota Cheetahs by 5


Toyota Cheetahs: 15 Frans Steyn, 14 Daniel Kasende, 13 David Brits, 12 Reinhardt Fortuin, 11 Tapiwa Mafura, 10 Siya Masuku, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Friedle Olivier, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Jeandrè Rudolph, 5 Victor Sekekete, 4 Mzwanele Zito, 3 Aranos Coetzee, 2 Louis van der Westhuizen, 1 Schalk Ferreira. Replacements: 16 Marko Janse van Rensburg, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Rynier Bernardo, 20 Sibabalo Qoma, 21 Daniel Maartens, 22 Rewan Kruger, 23 Robert Ebersohn.

Section Paloise: 15. Clément Mondinat, 14. Eoghan Barrett, 13. Yvan Reilhac, 12. Jale Vatubua, 11. Vincent Pinto, 10. Thibault Debaes, 9. Clovis Lebail, 8. Sacha Zegueur, 7. Thibaut Hamonou, 6. Martin Puech, 5. Jimi Maximin, 4. Hugo Auradou, 3. Nicolas Corato, 2. Lucas Rey (c), 1. Rémi Seneca. Replacements: 16. Youri Delhommel, 17. Siegfried Fisiihoi, 18. Nicolaas van Dyk, 19 Mickael Capelli, 20. Reece Hewat, 21. Thibault Daubagna, 22. Elliot Roudil, 23. Mathias Colombet.