Meet the new boys

With the entry of Southern Kings and Toyota Cheetahs into an expanded Guinness PRO14 confirmed, here’s our handy guide to the South African teams.

Bloemfontein based Toyota Cheetahs have been drawn in the Conference A in the new format and so will face the Ospreys home and away during the forthcoming campaign, while Southern Kings, from Port Elizabeth, are in Conference B and will play the region just the once this season.


Toyota Cheetahs 

Founded: 2005

Location: Bloemfontein, South Africa

Stadium: Free State Stadium (Capacity: 48,000)

Head coach: Franco Smith


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.


What's their form? 

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.


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.

Current Springboks include back-rower Oupa Mohoje and wing Raymond Rhule.


Who is the coach?

On 17 July, 2017, the side announced a coaching staff switch, with Franco Smith becoming the new director of rugby and Rory Duncan the head coach of the Cheetahs and Free State Cheetahs.

Smith is a former Springboks outside-half and centre who made 27 appearances for Newport after making his debut 1999. He also coached Treviso before taking over the role as Cheetahs' head coach in 2015.


Southern Kings

Founded: 2009

Location: Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Stadium: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium (Capacity: 48,459)

Head Coach: Deon Davids


Who are they?

The team were created in 2009 to play the British and Irish Lions on their tour of South Africa, a match the Kings lost 20-8. 

After initially failing to gain a Super Rugby franchise, the Kings were awarded a place in the 2013 competition.

For their debut season the Kings' catchment area was made up of the Eastern Cape and parts of the Western Cape, drawing players from three provincial unions.

After the South African Rugby Union (SARU) took over the running of the franchise in November 2015, the franchise had no formal ties to any of the provincial unions.


Where do they play?

The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium is a 46,000-seater stadium in Port Elizabeth on the Eastern Cape, which hosted eight games during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.


What's their form?

After making their debut in 2013 the Kings were relegated after losing the two-legged match with the Lions. They missed the 2014 and 2015 seasons before returning for 2016.

In 2017 the Kings again finished bottom of the Africa 2 Conference but were fifth in the South African standings and 11th overall. The Kings won six out of their 15 games.


Who has played for them?

One player has turned out for both the Osreys and the Kings, with second row Rynier Bernardo featuring 10 times in Super Rugby for the Port Elizabeth based team in 2013 before heading to the Liberty Stadium the following year. He played 31 times for the region across two seasons before switching to the Scarlets, who have also featured another former King in their ranks, fellow lock David Bulbring.

Former Leicester outside-half Jaco van der Westhuyzen played in the opening game against the Lions in 2009 and kicked a penalty.

Ex-Bath and Springboks flanker Luke Watson also turned out for the Kings.

Back-rower Andisa Ntsila, second-row Wilhelm van der Sluys and prop Schalk Ferreira are the most prominent names in their current squad


Who is the coach?

Former back-row or lock forward Deon Davids has been the Kings head coach for the last two seasons in Super Rugby.

He previously played and coached for Boland.