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Toyota Cheetahs

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Southern Kings and Toyota Cheetahs are set for September start up north

It is understood a deal to expand the Pro12 to 14 teams from next season has been agreed.

The South African sides Toyota Cheetahs and Southern Kings will join the league after losing their Super Rugby status.

The 6-year deal is likely to benefit the league to the tune of an extra £6m per season from the South African Rugby Union and additional television income.

All elements of the deal have been agreed and, once legally ratified, could be formally announced next week.

The new Pro14 league will kick-off in the first week of September and will comprise 2 conferences of 7 teams. Each conference will have 1 Scottish side, 1 South African side, 1 Italian side and 2 each from Wales and Ireland.

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Toyota CheetahsThe Toyota Cheetahs will play a friendly game against Japanese club Toyota Verblitz later this year.

The game, to be played on Friday 23 July in Japan, will serve as preparation for the Japan Top League and Currie Cup competitions.

The match will further strengthen the friendship ties between the 2 teams – who share the same sponsor.

At the end of the 2014 season and after losing a number of players because of limited funding, Free State Cheetahs (Pty) Ltd established a programme whereby players could play in Japan during the Currie Cup season and return to play for the Toyota Cheetahs’ Super Rugby franchise at the conclusion of the Japanese league.

By having Toyota as a sponsor it enabled Free State Rugby to engage freely with Verblitz, a Toyota owned club in Japan.

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Super RugbyJust how the revised Super Rugby format will go down with the South African rugby public is unclear, but we won’t have to wait long to find out.

The new-look tournament gets underway in less than a month, with the Blues and the Highlanders kicking things off in Auckland on Friday 26 February 2016.

From a South African perspective, the road ahead looks a tough one and if local bookmakers are to be believed there is no standout side from within these borders that looks set to challenge for the title.

Outside of the tournament changes, the majority of the South African franchises have also undergone major alterations with only 2wo sides – the Cell C Sharks and Emirates Lions – heading into 2016 with the same coaches that did the business in 2015.

The Southern Kings, obviously, were not a part of the 2015 competition but they also have a new man at the helm.

Here, we look at the 6 men tasked with bringing success to their respective franchises:

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Franco Smith

Franco Smith

The Toyota Cheetahs know they have an uphill battle in this year’s Vodacom Super Rucompetition, but they have approached their mammoth task with a renewed amount of energy and are hoping they will reap the rewards for their efforts.

Since Franco Smith took over the team in the last 2 games of last season the side has shown some exceptional touches on attack, but their defence at times and their set piece play has often let them down, ensuring that a lot of the good work they do on the field is reduced because of poor defence.

Smith has worked hard on this with the team through the off-season and believes it is one of the biggest priorities for the team to address before the season gets under way.

While he admits the team is still a work-in-progress, the former Springbok playmaker is hopeful that strides made in physical conditioning and the work the management have put in with the side in the off-season will begin to bear fruit when the serious games begin next month.

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CheetahsThe Toyota Cheetahs have started their preparations for the 2016 Super Rugby tournament by naming a 51-man pre-season squad.

The squad features a number of players who featured in the ABSA Currie Cup this year, in coach Franco Smith’s debut season in charge.

Springbok Lood de Jager is included in the squad after returning from South Africa’s Rugby World Cup campaign in England.

They will be facing the team from Argentina in their 1st Super Rugby encounter for 2016 on 26 February.

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Cornal Hendricks

Cornal Hendricks

Springbok winger Cornal Hendricks has signed a contract with Western Province Rugby and will be available for the DHL Stormers from the start of the 2016 Vodacom Super Rugby season.

The speedster, who originally made his name at international Sevens level, will return to his roots as a DHL Stormers player – having played his early provincial rugby for Boland, before becoming a full-time Sevens player in 2012 and then joining the Free State Cheetahs in 2014.

Hendricks, 27, made his Test debut in June of last year, whilst the 2013 Springbok Sevens Player of the Year was also a key member of the Commonwealth Games Gold medal-winning SA Sevens team in July 2014.

In all, he has played 11 Tests (as well as an additional match against the World XV) for the Springboks, scoring five tries – including a try on debut against Wales and a memorable solo score against the All Blacks in their hard-fought Rugby Championship tussle in Wellington in September 2014.

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Recent Comments

  • Bullscot 20 Jul 2017, 22:11 SAST - Have asked a lot of questions if anyone else some answers would be great thanks :Approve:
  • Bullscot 20 Jul 2017, 22:09 SAST - @ Bullscot: Sorry for all the questions mate have Supersport being broadcasting PRO12 games? If they have is it every...
  • Bullscot 20 Jul 2017, 22:06 SAST - @ Lion4ever: Thanks for clearing up the bit about the prize money for Supersport Challenge Lion4ever. Maybe you can help...
  • Bullscot 20 Jul 2017, 21:48 SAST - @ Lion4ever: Sounds like it has been a good thing the Supersport Challenge. Seen a journalist here has written that...
  • Lion4ever 20 Jul 2017, 12:15 SAST - @ Bullscot: That was just for winning the Cup. The Supersport Challenge is a great competition, in that it really...
  • Bullscot 19 Jul 2017, 23:47 SAST - @ Lion4ever: Regarding what will they receive don't know the answer to that one are any numbers being speculated on...

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