Connacht head to High Veld

Some of Connacht's supporters celebrating after the win over the Southern Kings last weekend.
Some of Connacht's supporters celebrating after the win over the Southern Kings last weekend.

By Michael Glynn in South Africa

Connacht have made the 650km trek from Port Elizabeth on the south coast to Bloemfontein in the High Veld for the second leg of their South African odyssey against the Cheetahs on Saturday (3pm).

Viewed as the tougher of their two matches on tour, the visitors nevertheless travelled full of confidence after their convincing victory over Southern Kings at sea level on Sunday.

The Cheetahs have been by far the more competitive of the two South African teams since they joined the Guinness Pro14 last season, though they struggled last weekend to overcome an understrength Benneton Treviso side in their 46,000-seater Toyota Stadium, built for the 1995 Rugby World Cup and a regular test venue for the Springboks.

Although the Southern Kings are bottom of the conference table, Connacht did extremely well to limit them to two tries last weekend – despite their league position, they are the sixth highest try scorers in the Pro14.

Connacht’s defence and discipline — only six penalties conceded last Sunday — will have to be equally diligent against the Cheetahs who also like to offload at pace and attack from depth. They scored 76 tries to Connacht’s 57 last season, though missed 464 tackles to Connacht’s 384 over the course of the 18 games.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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