Pro12 rugby: Who are the Cheetahs and Southern Kings?

Cheetahs beat Southern Kings in the teams’ final Super Rugby game on 14 July

The Cheetahs and the Southern Kings are set to be invited to join the Pro12 after it was announced they would leave Super Rugby which is cutting its number of teams from 18 to 15.

The South African franchises, who played their final Super Rugby game on Friday with the Cheetahs defeating the Kings 21-20, would join 12 teams from Wales, Italy, Ireland and Scotland from September.

Pro12 board members are set to meet in Dublin on Tuesday, 18 July to discuss the tournament’s immediate future with the South African sides expected to join – with the Bulls, Sharks, Stormers and Lions maintaining their Super Rugby status.

But what do we know about them?


Free State Stadium, home of the Cheetahs

Who are they?

Known as the Toyota Cheetahs, the franchise area encompasses the western half of the Free State province, the same as that of provincial Currie Cup side the Free State Cheetahs.

The Cheetahs were one of the two new franchises that entered the expanded Super Rugby competition in 2006, alongside Australia’s Western Force.

Where do they play?

They are based at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein. The stadium had its capacity increased to 48,000 for the 2010 World Cup.

How successful have they been?

In their first season the Cheetahs finished 10th in the final standings out of 14 sides. Their best regular season finish was in 2013 when they were sixth.

In 2017 the Cheetahs finished second in the Africa I conference, but seventh out of eight in the South African standings and 13th overall. They won four out of their 15 games.

Os du Randt (left) and Willie le Roux have both starred for the Cheetahs

Who has played for them?

Some of the famous Springbok names include Os du Randt, Juan Smith, Willie le Roux, Heinrich Brussow and Cornal Hendricks.

Dragons pair Sarel Pretorius and Rynard Landman also represented the Cheetahs before moving to Wales.

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