Tue 9 Sep 2014 | 02:07
Cheetahs overhauled for Sharks
Tue 9 Sep 2014 | 02:07
Cheetahs overhauled for SharksSHARE
Free State Cheetahs coach Rory Duncan has rung the changes for his side's clash with the Sharks in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Following their second defeat of the season to the Pumas, the Free State outfit find themselves in fifth position on the standings and in need of some big performances to keep their play-off hopes alive.
"It has been a difficult week with regards to injury. We have a couple of guys back, but we've also lost quite a few of our stalwarts," Duncan said.
Scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius is the only backline player to start in the same jersey as last week in a new-look combination.
Utility back Rayno Benjamin finds himself at fullback in a completely new back three which features Shimlas flyer Maphutha Dolo and midfielder JP du Plessis on the wings.
Benjamin shifts to fullback in place of Clayton Blommetjies who has been ruled out with a knee injury, whilst Du Plessis moves to the wing to replace Raymond Rhule who is battling a neck injury.
Consequently Francois Venter moves from inside to outside centre as Joubert Engelbrecht takes his place, whilst Willie du Plessis gets another chance to impress at flyhalf.
"Rayno Benjamin will add a useful attacking dimension from fullback, while everyone else now gets the chance to prove their worth. The Pumas are going to be a difficult side and what better game than this one to show our capabilities," said Duncan.
There are changes to the forward pack as well as Pieter Labuschagne makes his first start of the season at No.8 in place of Jean Cook who has injured a calf muscle.
"Lappies has looked good in practice, but probably won't play the full 80 minutes. When you get back from a lengthy injury it is better to take it step by step," said Duncan.
Should Labuschagne only play one half, another newcomer Vincent Jobo could get his first taste of Currie Cup rugby from the replacement bench.
In the front row George Marich starts at tighthead prop ahead of Rudolph Botha whilst on the loosehead side Caylib Oosthuizen returns from a shoulder injury to start.
Free State Cheetahs: 15 Rayno Benjamin, 14 Maphutha Dolo, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Joubert Engelbrecht, 11 JP du Plessis, 10 Willie Du Plessis, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Pieter Labuschagne, 7 Neil Claassen, 6 Tienie Burger, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Henco Venter, 3 George Marich, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld (captain), 1 Caylib Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Abraham le Roux, 17 Rudolph Botha, 18 Werner Lourens, 19 Vincent Jobo, 20 Shaun Venter, 21 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 22 AJ Coertzen.
Date: Saturday, September 12
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 15.00 (13.00 GMT)
Referee: Stuart Berry
Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge, Cwengile Jadezweni
TMO: JJ Wagner