The Cheetahs have played the Sharks 9 times since they joined Super Rugby through the Super 14 back in 2006 and in those matches the Cheetahs have won 3 times.
Those three wins out of nine matches translate to the Cheetahs winning 33% of their matches against the Sharks in Super Rugby overall.
The average score across all venues when the Cheetahs play the Sharks is Cheetahs 19 Sharks 26.
The Cheetahs have played 4 home home matches against the Sharks and all of them have been played in Bloemfontein (they play some home matches in Kimberley).
In those four home matches against the Sharks the Cheetahs have won 1 and lost 3. That translates to the Cheetahs winning just 25% of their matches at home against the Sharks.
The average score when the Cheetahs play the Sharks in Bloemfontein is Cheetahs 21 Sharks 23 and the Cheetahs have not beaten the Sharks at home since 2009.
Out of the last five matches between the two teams the Cheetahs have won one and the Sharks four. It is important to note that the last four matches have all been won by the Sharks.
Just about every statistic from the Cheetahs and Sharks history points to the Sharks winning.
Both teams have said how well their preparations have gone in the pre-season and both teams have lost high profile players to injury.
Last season the Cheetahs finished in 10th place while the Sharks reached the final.
Since last year the Cheetahs have lost Sias Ebersohn (Western Force), flanker Ashley Johnson (London Wasps), lock George Earl (Scarlets), prop WP Nel (Edinburgh) and centre Andries Strauss.
There have been a couple of new signings in former Boland flyhalf Elgar Watts and former Bulls centre Johann Sadie but no new big name players.
The Cheetahs will be aiming to improve on last year's final position but they shouldn't threaten too many of the bigger teams.
The Sharks have recruited Butch James and lock Franco van der Merwe for this season and have lost Ross Skeate and Steven Sykes and Frenchman Frederic Michalak.
Overall the Sharks have not lost too much but they do have a lot more experience having reached the final. They should worry a lot of teams and should be challenging for the South African Conference title if not the Super Rugby title.
The Bookies have given the Cheetahs a 6 point start for this Match - with an offer of a FREE £50 BET. The Sharks shouldn't be troubled too much by the Cheetahs in this match. Sharks to win by 7.
This Match will be shown on TV in NZ, Aus, SA and in the UK on Sky Sports 4 HD.
Average score: Cheetahs 19 Sharks 26
Last five results
14 Jul 2012 Cheetahs v Sharks15-34 Durban
19 May 2012 Cheetahs v Sharks 20-34 Bloemfontein
04 Jun 2011 Cheetahs v Sharks 18-23 Bloemfontein
19 Feb 2011 Cheetahs v Sharks 9-24 Durban
19 Feb 2010 Cheetahs v Sharks 25-20 Durban
Cheetahs overall record against the Sharks
Played 9 , Wins 3 , Losses 6, Draws 0
Match No.8. :Cheetahs v Sharks
Date : Saturday 23 February
Venue : Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Kick Off local: 17:05
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan
Assistant Ref 1:Jason Jaftha
Assistant Ref 2:Tiaan Jonker
TMO : Gerrie Coetzee
Louis Ludik, JP Pietersen, Paul Jordaan, Francois Steyn (captain), Lwazi Mvovo, Patrick Lambie, Cobus Reinach, Ryan Kankowski, Marcell Coetzee, Jacques Botes, Franco van der Merwe, Anton Bresler, Jannie du Plessis, Craig Burden, Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: Kyle Cooper, Wiehahn Herbst, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Jean Deysel, Charl McLeod, Meyer Bosman, Odwa Ndungane.
Hennie Daniller, Willie le Roux, Johann Sadie, Robert Ebersohn, Raymond Rhule, Johan Goosen, Piet van Zyl, Philip van der Walt, Lappies Labuschagne, Frans Viljoen, Francois Uys, Lood de Jager, Lourens Adriaanse, Adriaan Strauss (captain), Trevor Nyakane.
Replacements: Ryno Barnes, Coenie Oosthuizen, Waltie Vermeulen, Boom Prinsloo, Sarel Pretorius, Elgar Watts, Ryno Benjamin.