SA teams back in action after Guinness PRO14 break
January 03, 2019
The Isuzu Southern Kings and Toyota Cheetahs will have to hit the ground running in the Guinness PRO14 this weekend after a four-week festive season break when they line up against Edinburgh and Zebre Rugby Club in Scotland and Italy respectively.

While their European counterparts took to the field in the last two weeks, the SA sides enjoyed an extended Christmas break, meaning they will have to fire from all cylinders from the outset to make a strong statement as the 2019 matches kick off.

The Isuzu Southern Kings and Edinburgh will meet at Murrayfield on Saturday, while the Toyota Cheetahs take on Zebre Rugby Club at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi in Parma in the only match on Sunday.

In Scotland, Edinburgh will be hunting their third victory in a row and third successive win against the Isuzu Southern Kings in the competition when they cross paths, although this will be the first time they meet in the 2018/2019 season.

Despite the hosts winning six of their 12 matches and the Port Elizabeth side only one of their 10 matches, the visitors have scored only 46 points less than their opponents, while they have outscored Edinburgh 28 tries to 27, and conceded only eight tries more, meaning it could be an exciting clash.

In their two matches last season Edinburgh registered bonus-point victories, which is expected to fuel the visitors’ determination to win.

Coach Deon Davids’ named a 25-man travelling squad earlier this week, which was bolstered by the return of Michael Willemse, Alandre van Rooyen and Berton Klaasen from injury, while Sarel Pretorius is set to make his debut for the Isuzu Southern Kings after recovering from the foot injury that kept him out of action in the early stages of the competition.

The Toyota Cheetahs, meanwhile, will enter their match against Zebre Rugby Club with confidence, as they occupy a higher log position than their Italian rivals despite playing two less matches in the competition.

The hosts boast three victories in 12 matches to the Toyota Cheetahs’ two in 10 outings, but the Free Stater’s have scored 63 more points in their matches, with their superior attack steering them to 31 tries to Zebre’s 19.

Coach Franco Smith’s men, however, will have to step up their defence, as Zebre have been more effective in that department.

This will mark the sides’ first match this season, but after registering a comprehensive victory against Zebre Rugby Club in Bloemfontein and defeating the Italians 24-23 at home last season, the Toyota Cheetahs will look to continue this dominance against the side from Parma.

Guinness PRO 14 Round 13 fixtures:

Edinburgh v Isuzu Southern Kings

Date: Saturday, 5 January
SA time: 21h35
Venue: BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Referee: John Lacey (IRFU)
Assistant referees: Johnny Erskine (IRFU) and Hollie Davidson (SRU)
TMO: Andrew McMenemy (SRU)

Zebre v Toyota Cheetahs

Date: Sunday, 6 January
SA time: 15h00
Venue: Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, Parma
Referee: Dan Jones (WRU)
Assistant referees: Aled Evans (WRU) and Gianluca Gnecchi (FIR)
TMO: Stefano Roscini (FIR)

Other Round 13 matches (SA kick-off times):

Saturday, 5 January:

16h00: Benetton v Glasgow Warriors – Stadio Montigo, Treviso
17h00: Ospreys v Cardiff Blues – Liberty Stadium, Swansea
19h15: Leinster v Ulster – RDS Arena, Dublin
19h15: Scarlets v Dragons – Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli
21h35: Connacht v Munster – The Sportsground, Galway

The Castle Lager Rugby Championship
Saturday, July 20 2019
17:05 - South Africa vs Australia
Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg
Saturday, July 27 2019
09:35 - New Zealand vs South Africa
Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Saturday, August 10 2019
00:00 - Argentina vs South Africa
Castle Lager Incoming Series
Saturday, August 17 2019
17:05 - South Africa vs Argentina
Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
RWC Warm-up game
Friday, September 06 2019
00:00 - Japan vs South Africa
Kumagaya Rugby Stadium, Saitama
Rugby World Cup
Saturday, September 21 2019
11:45 - South Africa vs New Zealand
International Stadium, Yokohama
Saturday, September 28 2019
11:45 - South Africa vs Namibia
City of Toyota Stadium
Friday, October 04 2019
11:45 - South Africa vs Italy
Shizuoka Stadium
Tuesday, October 08 2019
12:15 - South Africa vs Canada
Kobe Misaki Stadium

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