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Toyota Cheetahs begin their EPCR Challenge Cup journey as they take on Section Paloise at the Stade du Hameau on Saturday.
Toyota Cheetahs, one of the two South African sides debuting in the EPCR Challenge Cup this season, compete in the Currie Cup, of which they reached the semi-finals earlier this year, but join the competition on an invitational basis.
The South African side will use Zebre Parma’s ground, the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, for their home games, rather than welcoming sides to the Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein.
Pau are only two places above bottom side CA Brive in the TOP 14, but they have won three of their last four games, including an outstanding 38-21 away win over reigning Heineken Champions Cup holders Stade Rochelais in October.
The French side reached the EPCR Challenge Cup final in 2005, where they lost 27-3 to Sale Sharks. However, they haven’t made it past the group stages since the 2017/18 season.
The Pool B match kicks off at 13:00 (UK & Irish time) and will be shown on France 3, beIN Sports, SuperSport, Viaplay-Premier Sports and FloRugby.
Let’s get to know @CheetahsRugby, through the eyes of hooker Louis ‘Chucky’ van der Westhuizen 👀#ChallengeCupRugby pic.twitter.com/Fw6foT5TZl
— EPCR Challenge Cup (@ChallengeCup_) October 30, 2022
- Section Paloise No.8 Jordan Joseph made more turnovers in a single EPCR Challenge Cup match last season than any other player – five against London Irish in Round 1.
- Section Paloise averaged more metres in contact (51.25) than any other team in the EPCR Challenge Cup last season.
- Section Paloise have won their last two TOP 14 fixtures at home. However, they have won just one-third of their matches so far this season.
- The Toyota Cheetahs last played Northern Hemisphere opposition in February 2020 when they lost 13-10 to Dragons RFC at Rodney Parade.
- The Bloemfontein-based side have won three of their last four matches
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Toyota Cheetahs showed composure and maturity under pressure to edge out Section Paloise 21-16 in their first ever EPCR Challenge Cup match at the Stade du Hameau on Saturday.
The match started slowly, with neither team really firing in attack, Clément Mondinat kicking Pau into a lead in the first five minutes, before Ruan Pienaar responded with a penalty of his own.
Two further Mondinat kicks gave Pau a half-time lead but neither side will have been happy with their first-half displays.
🔥 HISTORY MADE 🔥@CheetahsRugby gain their first try in #ChallengeCupRugby through Daniel Maartens 💪
📺 @francetvsport, @beinsports_FR, @SuperSportTV, @ViaPlaySportsUK and @FloRugby pic.twitter.com/F87Mvscz2J
— EPCR Challenge Cup (@ChallengeCup_) December 10, 2022
But the second half was a completely different story, as Daniel Maartens went over for Toyota Cheetahs to give them a 10-9 lead.
It sparked the home side into life and a Rémi Sénéca score restored their lead, which they kept despite powerful flanker Oupa Mohojé charging over, as Pienaar pushed the conversion an inch wide.
But Pienaar kicked Toyota Cheetahs back into the lead before being substituted, and fly-half Siya Masuku kicked another penalty to give them the victory as Pau’s ill discipline ultimately cost them the win.
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