Fitness tests for Cheetahs stars
Two of the Cheetahs' key players face late fitness tests ahead of the team's decisive Super Rugby encounter with the Blues in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
The Cheetahs, who have a bye in the final round of league action next week, must beat the Blues to guarantee themselves a first-ever appearance in the Super Rugby play-offs.
Fullback Hennie Daniller, a late withdrawal from last week's disappointing loss to the Stormers, and Springbok prop Coenie Oosthuizen, who took a blow to the leg just above the knee in the match at Newlands, will both face fitness tests on Friday.
Coach Naka Drotské named a team that shows two changes from that which started in Cape Town last week.
Daniller has been named at fullback, after missing the game against the Stormers with a knee injury that flared up at the captain's run.
If Daniller passes his fitness test, then Willie le Roux will start on the wing – where he was originally named, before shifting to fullback in the late switch. Rayno Benjamin is on standby to slot in on the wing again.
Sarel Pretorius played on the wing in last week's late change, but Benjamin will get the start this week, with Pretorius staying on the bench.
Oosthuizen, who took a heavy blow to the leg just above the knee, have not been able to train this week, but has also been named in the starting XV and will be given a run on Friday to test his leg.
Trevor Nyakane, who is on the bench, will start in Oosthuizen's place if he fails a fitness test and Caylib Oosthuizen is on standby to take a spot on the bench.
Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Riaan Smit, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Rynhardt Landman, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Coenraad Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Petrus Vermeulen, 19 Johannes Prinsloo, 20 Sarel Pretorius, 21 Elgar Watts, 22 Rayno Benjamin.
Date: Saturday, July 6
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 14.50 (12.50 GMT; 12.50, Sunday, July 7 NZ time)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Ben Crouse (South Africa), Francois de Bruin (South Africa)
TMO: Gerrie Coetzee (South Africa)