Pro14 preview: Leinster v Cheetahs 3 days ago

Pro14 preview: Leinster v Cheetahs

eir Sport

Leinster may have their work cut out for them this weekend.

There's no such thing as perfection when it comes to sport. You'll always find things to improve or problems to solve, no matter how good the team.

That said, it's nigh on impossible to think how Leinster's season could be in better shape than it currently is. More tries scored than anyone else, the fewest conceded and a grand total of 47 points on the table out of a possible 50.

There you go actually, they let those three points drop over the past 10 rounds. Pick up the slack, Leinster.

In all seriousness it's highly unlikely that the Leinster steam train will stop rolling any time soon. They've crushed everything in their path and dipped into a squad that would be the envy of any sporting organisation, never mind just in the Pro14.

Cheetahs are no pushovers though, and they'll be looking to stake their claim for second on the table when they visit the RDS on Saturday (kick off 2.3opm, live on eir Sport 1). A poor record away from home somewhat overshadows the fact that they've scored a whopping 257 points in five home games this season, and are second only to Leinster in terms of tries scored.

Leinster

15. Rob Kearney

14. Fergus McFadden

13. Jimmy O’Brien

12. Joe Tomane

11. Dave Kearney

10. Ciarán Frawley

9. Luke McGrath

1. Peter Dooley

2. Rónan Kelleher

3. Michael Bent

4. Ross Molony

5. Scott Fardy (C)

6. Rhys Ruddock

7. Will Connors

8. Max Deegan

Bench: Seán Cronin, Michael Milne, Roman Salanoa, Ryan Baird, Scott Penny, Jamison Gibson-Park, Harry Byrne, Cian Kelleher

Toyota Cheetahs

15. Rhyno Smith

14. Clayton Blommetjies

13. William Small-Smith

12. Benhard Janse van Rensburg

11. Rabz Maxwane

10. Tian Schoeman

9. Ruan Pienaar (Captain)

1. Charles Marais

2. Joseph Dweba

3. Aranos Coetzee

4. Walt Steenkamp

5. JP du Preez

6. Chris Massyn

7. Junior Pokomela

8. Jasper Wiese

Bench: Wilmar Arnoldi, Boan Venter, Luan de Bruin, Aidon Davis, Gerhard Olivier, Tian Meyer, Louis Fouche, Chris Smit

Where we stand

Let's be honest here, it's pretty hard to see anything other than this being a Leinster win. Even with so many players currently with the Ireland squad, Leo Cullen is able to call upon the two Kearney brothers, Luke McGrath and Rhys Ruddock.

Never before has a Leinster team (or any team, for that matter) been more prepared to deal with losing their international contingent. The likes of Will Connors and Max Deegan have impressed at every turn so far this season, and that competition for places is more than enough motivation.

What is very likely to happen is that the Cheetahs will do everything in their power to stop the boys in blue. Aptly-named powerhouse fullback Rhyno Smith is currently topping the charts in terms of defenders beaten, meters gained and tries scored, not to mention the fact that only John Cooney has converted more tries than Ruan Pienaar.

Make no mistake, Cheetahs are a damn fine team capable of doing serious damage. Whether or not it'll be enough to stop Leinster at home is another matter entirely.

Prediction

This game certainly has the potential to be close. The Cheetahs' last visit to the RDS ended up with a 19-7 victory for Leinster, and we're predicting something similar will happen this time around.

Verdict: Leinster to win by eight points.

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