Front row blow for Cheetahs
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Free State Cheetahs were dealt a cruel blow on the eve of their Currie Cup semifinal encounter with the Sharks.
Veteran Namibian prop Aranos Coetzee is one of two players that are not available due to World Cup commitments.
Ruben de Haas has not featured in the Currie Cup due to his commitments with the American national team’s World Cup build-up.
Coetzee, however, has been involved throughout the Cheetahs’; campaign, which saw them finish on top of the standings.
However, Namibia has not released the prop for the play-offs, resulting in one of several changes to the matchday squad.
Coetzee played off the bench in the Cheetahs’ 38-33 win over Western Province last week.
Retshegofaditswe Nché, who also played off the bench last week, moves into the starting front row in place of Schalk Van Der Merwe.
Erich de Jager replaces Abram Venter in the other change to the front row.
In the backline William Small-Smith moves from inside centre to right wing, in place of Darren Adonis – with Dries Swanepoel returning at inside centre.
The Cheetahs secured a home semifinal by finishing first on the log.
Players not available through injury include Teboho Mohoje (knee), Aidon Davis (leg fracture), Justin Basson (knee), Ali Mgijima (Achilles), Luan de Bruin (neck), Malcolm Jaer (groin), Daniel Maartens (ankle), Marnus van der Merwe (foot), Adriaan Carelse (hand) and Charles Marais (knee).
Saturday will be the 22nd time the Free State play in a Currie Cup semifinal, of which nine was against the Sharks and six at home.
Rugby World Cup – Ruben de Haas (USA), Aranos Coetzee (Namibia).
Free State Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 William Small-Smith, 13 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 12 Dries Swanepoel, 11 Tian Meyer (captain), 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Henco Venter, 7 Abongile Nonkontwana, 6 Junior Pokomela, 5 Walt Steenkamp, 4 Sintu Manjesi, 3 Erich de Jager, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Retshegofaditswe Nché.
Replacements: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Schalk van der Merwe, 18 Reinach Venter, 19 Jean-Pierre du Preez, 20 Gerhard Olivier, 21 Jasper Wiese, 22 Louis Fouche, 22 Darren Adonis.
Date: Saturday, August 31
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 17.00 (15.00 GMT)
Referee: AJ Jacobs
Assistant Referees: Marius van der Westhuizen, Paul Mente
TMO: Joey Klaaste-Salmans
A special good luck message from Nico Lee all the way from France! 💪Currie Cup Semi-FinalToyota SA
Posted by Cheetahs Rugby on Thursday, 29 August 2019