Cheetahs press the reset button
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Cheetahs have pressed the reset button after a disappointing 2021 Currie Cup season and have named an impressive team to face Western Province in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
It is the Cheetahs’ first match in more than two months – with their previous competitive game against the Bulls in a Currie Cup fixture at Loftus Versfeld back in August.
The Cheetahs did have a contact session against a depleted Zimbabwe last week, but this will be several levels up from that training run.
It is the first of four matches in the new Challenge Series – which will also see them take on Spanish club Barcelona, the Sharks and Baia Mare from Romania.
Seasoned loose forward Aidon Davis will lead the side that is without a host of players – either injured, on loan or in one case on Springbok duty.
Coach Hawies Fourie said the Challenge Series is the start of their preparations for next year’s Currie Cup competition, which gets underway in January.
Players not eligible for selection due to injury include Nqobisizwe Moxoli (wrist), Andisa Ntsila (neck), Jeandré Rudolph (knee), George Cronje (knee), Duncan Saal (bicep), Malcolm Jaer (ankle), Branden de Kock (knee), Craig Barry (hamstring), Marné Coetzee (calf), Clayton Blommetjies (ankle) and Chris Smit (quad).
To complicate matters, Reinhardt Fortuin was injured in training on Thursday and replaced by Brandon Thomson.
Players with other rugby obligations are Aranos Coetzee and Louis van der Westhuizen (playing for Namibia), Frans Steyn (Springboks), Ruan Pienaar (on loan to the Sharks) and Junior Pokomela (on loan to the Stormers).
Cheetahs: 15 Cohen Jasper, 14 Daniel Kasende, 13 David Brits, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Siyabonga Masuku, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Aidon Davis (captain), 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Gideon van der Merwe, 5 Rynier Bernardo, 4 Victor Sekekete, 3 Jacobus van Vuuren, 2 Wilmar Arnoldi, 1 Aluluthu Tshakweni.
Replacements: 16 Marnus van der Merwe, 17 Cameron Dawson, 18 Hanru Jacobs, 19 Jeandré Labuschagne, 20 Teboho Mohoje, 21 Zinedine Booysen, 22 Brandon Thomson, 23 Evardi Boshoff.
Date: Saturday, November 13
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 17:30 (15.30 GMT)
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: Griffin Colby, Darren Colby
TMO: Cwengile Jadezweni