Friday 27 April 2018

Nacewa returns to lead Leinster charge

Cheetahs v Leinster, 7pm, Sky Sports Action

Isa Nacewa. Photo: PA
Isa Nacewa. Photo: PA

Earlier this week, Cheetahs coach Rory Duncan was comparing the GPS results from his team's first three Guinness PRO14 games to those they had seen in Super Rugby.

The game is slower but the hits are harder, came the conclusion, and if Leinster want to win in Bloemfontein tonight they'll have to keep that trend going.

Zebre got sucked into a Super-style game at Toyota Stadium last Saturday and came away with an eight-try-to-five defeat.

A fast track on the Highveld is not a place to get into a gun-fight, the Blues should play to their strengths by dominating up front before they consider having a go with their backline.

Although Luke McGrath and Fergus McFadden have returned to Ireland, the re-introduction of Isa Nacewa at centre should help with their decision-making and composure and all-round they look stronger than a Cheetahs team playing catch-up after their first two defeats.

They have pace to burn out wide with Makazole Mapimpi a particular danger when given space.

The more fun he is having, the longer the night will be for Leinster, but once they get used to their surrounds they have the quality to keep their winning start to the season going ahead of stiffer tests when they return home.

Verdict: Leinster

Cheetahs - S Petersen; R Specman, F Venter (capt), W Small-Smith, M Mapimpi; E Stapelberg, T Meyer; C Marais, T van Jaarsveld, T Botha; J Basson, R Hugo; P Schoeman, H Venter, O Mohoje. Reps: J du Toit, O Nche, J Coetzee, R Bernardo, J Pokomela, S Venter, N Lee, L Obi.

Leinster - J Carbery; D Kearney, N Reid, I Nacewa (capt), B Daly; R Byrne, J Gibson-Park; C Healy, J Tracy, M Bent; R Molony, M Kearney; J Murphy, J van der Flier, J Conan. Reps: S Cronin, P Dooley, A Porter, R Ruddock, M Deegan, N McCarthy, C Marsh, R O'Loughlin.

Ref - M Adamson (SRU).

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