Cheetahs bring their 'magic' back
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie tweaked his unbeaten team for the Round 11 Currie Cup encounter with the Sharks.
Two key backline playmakers – Rosko Specman and Siyabonga Masuku – have returned to the starting XV for the Sharks’ visit to Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Sevens legend Specman replaces Duncan Saal on the left wing and Masuka returns at flyhalf, where he was a star performer before an injury earlier in the season.
Saal drops out of the matchday 23 and Reinhardt Fortuin moves down to the replacement bench.
The pack also shows a number of changes from the side that was made to work hard for a 35-26 win over the Lions in Johannesburg last week.
Andisa Ntsila starts on the blindside flank and Jeandré Rudolph drops down to the bench.
The front row was forced into a late injury change.
Wilmar Arnoldi, who was named to start at hooker, injured his hamstring in the captain’s run on Friday and was replaced by Marnus van der Merwe – who started against the Lions last week, but was going to be rested.
In the final change, Schalk Ferreira comes in at looshead prop in place of Cameron Dawson, who drops down to the bench.
Players not eligible for selection due to injury include George Cronjè (knee), Branden de Kock (knee), Rynier Bernardo (shoulder), Malcolm Jaer (ankle), Craig Barry (knee) and Clayton Blommetjies (knee).
* Meanwhile, in a first for the Cheetahs, a festival is planned to precede the match.
There is a car boot sale for fans and a ‘food court’ at the stadium.
The Free State Youth Brass Ensemble will lend extra flavour before and during the game.
The festival will run from 08.00 till after the main game.
According to Ross van Reenen, CEO of Cheetahs (Pty) Ltd, the food trucks and car boot sales will become a regular feature at the Free State stadium at home games for the Cheetahs.
“The whole idea behind the festival is to stimulate the economy,” Van Reenen said.
“Anyone who has second-hand items or any products to sell is welcome to participate in the car-boot sale.”
No livestock will, however, be allowed.
Cheetahs: 15 Cohen Jasper, 14 Daniel Kasende, 13 David Brits, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Siyabonga Masuku, 9 Ruan Pienaar (captain), 8 Mihlali Mosi, 7 Andisa Ntsila, 6 Gideon van der Merwe, 5 Victor Sekekete, 4 Aidon Davis, 3 Aranos Coetzee, 2 Marnus van der Merwe, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Cameron Dawson, 17 Louis van der Westhuizen, 18 Conraad van Vuuren, 19 Ockie Barnard, 20 Jeandré Rudolph, 21 Rewan Kruger, 22 Reinhardt Fortuin, 23 Chris Smit.
Date: Saturday, May 14
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 14.30 (12.30 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Stephan Geldenhuys, Philip Kotze
TMO: Marius van der Westhuizen