Connacht v Cheetahs preview and team news

Denis Buckley, seen here playing against the Cheetahs last February, return to the side for his first start of the season. Photo credit: Shane Tighe.
Connacht v The Cheetahs
Guinness Pro 14, round 4
The Sportsground, Saturday 26th October 5:15 pm.

Andy Friend’s Connacht will hope to make it three wins on the trot as they host the in-form Cheetahs at the Sportsground on Saturday evening. The away side are also flying high with a maximum return of 15 points gained from their opening 3 encounters.

With Ruan Pienaar, Bloemfontein’s prodigal son, returning to pull the strings the Cheetahs ruthlessly dispatched Glasgow, Ulster and Munster in opening 3 rounds. They clocked up 151 point and ran in 22 tries in the process. However, the Sportsground on a cold October night is set to be a far cry from the sultry conditions they enjoyed on the highveld.

Connacht’s round 3 bonus-point win over the Dragons at Rodney Parade came at a cost as both Tiernan O’Halloran and Paddy McAllister both picked up serious-looking injuries. Matt Healy also picked up a knock just prior to the break and will sit out this weeks game.

Denis Buckley returns at prop for McAllister and Stephen Fitzgerald starts at full-back for O’Halloran. While Niyi Adeolokun comes in for his first start of the season on the wing for Healy. The only other change sees Kieran Marmion come in at scrum-half as Caolin Blade drops to the bench.

Speaking prior to the game Niyi Adeolokun spoke of his desire to hit the ground running on his first start: “Everything we did in pre-season is starting to come into play now and confidence is high within the squad.” Speaking of their opponents this week Niyi added – “We’re not going to be kicking loosely to their back three this weekend. We know how dangerous they are. We just have to do our job well and we know we’re good enough to beat the Cheetahs.”

Team News

The Cheetahs team news
  1.  Ox Nche
  2. Joseph Dweba
  3. Aranos Coetzee
  4. Sintu Manjezi
  5. Walt Steenkamp
  6. Gerhard Olivier
  7. Junior Pokomela
  8. Jasper Wiese
  9. Ruan Pienaar (C)
  10. Tian Schoeman
  11. Anthony Volmink
  12. Benhard Janse van Rensburg
  13. Dries Swanepoel
  14. Clayton Blommetjies
  15. Rhyno Smith
  1. Wilmar Arnoldi
  2. Boan Venter
  3. Luan de Bruin
  4. JP du Preez
  5. Sias Koen
  6. Tian Meyer
  7. George Whitehead
  8. William Small-Smith

For team news and a preview of the four Irish provinces in Guinness Pro14 action this weekend click here.

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