New flyhalf as Cheetahs change it up
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie has made a host of changes to his team ahead of their Currie Cup Round Four encounter with the Pumas in Nelspruit on Friday.
The most significant is the selection of two-time World Cup-winning Springbok Frans Steyn at flyhalf.
Steyn, 33, capped 67 times for the Boks, replaces Tian Schoeman in the No.10 jersey.
Schoeman drops out of the matchday 23.
In a complete reshuffle of the backline Ruben de Haas, a United States World Cup player, replaces Tian Meyer at scrumhalf. The latter drops down to the replacement bench.
The wings are William Small-Smith and Duncan Saal, with Saal making his Currie Cup debut for the Cheetahs. Saal replaces Malcolm Jaer in the No.11 jersey – the latter himself a late replacement for the injured Rosko Specman last week.
Specman has not recovered from his hamstring injury.
Howard Mnisi and Dries Swanepoel are the two centres – with Swanepoel coming in to fill the spot vacated by Small-Smith’s move to the wing.
Marnus van der Merwe will be the starting hooker, with Louis van der Westhuizen providing cover on the bench.
The locks are Carl Wegner and Reniel Hugo – with Hugo replacing Ian Groenewald, who drops out of the matchday 23.
Teboho Mohojé has recovered from his hamstring injury and is on the bench as second row cover.
Rhyno Smith (outside backs) and Chris Massyn (loose forwards) have also been added as cover to the bench.
The Cheetahs still have a lengthy list of players not available due to injury.
This includes Wilmar Arnoldi (cheekbone), Aranos Coetzee (ankle), Ruan Pienaar (knee), Craig Barry (knee), Charles Marais (neck), Junior Pokomela (wrist), Hencus van Wyk (hamstring) and Rosko Specman (hamstring).
Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Duncan Saal, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 William Small-Smith, 10 Frans Steyn, 9 Ruben de Haas, 8 Jeandré Rudolph, 7 Aidon Davis, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Carl Wegner (captain), 3 Khutha Mchunu, 2 Marnus van der Merwe, 1 Boan Venter.
Replacements: 16 Louis van der Westhuizen, 17 Cameron Dawson, 18 Erich de Jager, 19 Teboho Mohojé, 20 Chris Massyn, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Reinhardt Fortuin, 23 Rhyno Smith.
Date: Friday, December 18
Venue: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Kick-off: 19.00 (17.00 GMT)
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant referees: Aimee Barrett-Theron and Morne Ferreira
TMO: Lesego Legoete