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Leinster Rugby vs Toyota Cheetahs
Pro14 Round 11
RDS Arena, Dublin
Saturday, 15th February 2020, 14:30

TV: Live on Eir Sports

Leinster are back after a four week mid-season break.

In their last game Leinster ground out another manky win in Italy to finish as top seeds in Europe. Their reward is a quarter-final against the Saracrooks in what will be their only meaningful game of the season as they've already been relegated from the Premiership.

Before then Leinster have Pro14 business to attend to with three matches over the Six Nations Championship. They go to Ospreys next week before hosting Glasgow the week after. But first up is the Cheetahs who started the season in such raging form that they looked like title challengers. In their first three games, all at home, they hammered former champions Glasgow, Ulster and Munster playing some outstanding attacking rugby as they did it.

The good times didn't last though once they went on their travels and they lost the next three games narrowly to Connacht, Scarlets and Cardiff. They managed to beat Ospreys in Wales but then got hammered 41-13 by Zebre of all teams although to be fair that was their first game in five weeks as the South African teams don't play in December.

In the last few weeks they played their South African rivals the Kings in two derby matches and they needed a last minute try to win the away game 31-30. They destroyed the Kings 45-0 at home the following week and lie in third place in Conference A.

Their coach Hawies Fourie has named a strong team with the brilliant Rhyno Smith, who has scored 10 tries this season, named to start at full back. Former Ulster player Ruan Pienaar captains the team from scrum-half and hooker Joseph Dweba, centre William Small-Smith and flanker Junior Pokomela are three other players to watch out for.

For Leinster Leo Cullen is able to name five players who were released from the Ireland squad to get game time. Luke McGrath and Dave Kearney are named in the backs while Ronan Kelleher, Will Connors and Max Deegan start in the pack. Otherwise the team is named along expected lines and Scott Fardy captains the team again from the second row.

The game could be badly affected by storm Dennis, but if the rain holds off it could make for an exciting encounter. It's a very strong Leinster side though so they should be able to continue their winning run regardless.

Team Lineups

Leinster Rugby
Toyota Cheetas
Teams Rob Kearney 15 Rhyno Smith
Fergus McFadden 14 Clayton Blommetjies
Jimmy O'Brien 13 William Small-Smith
Joe Tomane 12 Benhard Janse van Rensburg
Dave Kearney 11 Rabz Maxwane
Ciaran Frawley
10 Tian Schoeman
Luke McGrath 9 Ruan Pienaar (C)

Peter Dooley 1 Charles Marais
Ronan Kelleher 2 Joseph Dweba
Michael Bent 3 Aranos Coetzee
Ross Molony 4 Walt Steenkamp
Scott Fardy (C)
5 JP du Preez
Rhys Ruddock 6 Chris Massy
Will Connors 7 Junior Pokomela
Max Deegan 8 Jasper Wiese

Replacements Sean Cronin
16 Wilmar Arnoldi
Michael Milne 17 Boan Venter
Roman Salanoa 18 Luan de Bruin
Ryan Baird 19 Aidon Davis
Scott Penny 20 Gerhard Olivier
Jamison Gibson-Park 21 Tian Meyer
Harry Byrne 22 Louis Fouche
Cian Kelleher 23 Chris Smit

Not Considered
due to Injury
Dan Leavy,
Barry Daly,
Jack Conan,
Vakh Abdaladze,
Rory O'Loughlin,
Ed Byrne

Justin Basson,
Marnus van der Merwe,
Oupa Mohoje,
Sintu Manjezi
Officials Referee: Ben Whitehouse (WRU),
Assistant referees: Stuart Gaffikin (IRFU), AR2: Gwyn Morris (WRU),
TMO: Ian Davies (WRU)

by Jim O'Connor, © 2020-02-14