Ten changes for bottom-placed Cheetahs
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie made a raft of changes to his team, ahead of their Currie Cup Round 12 match against Griquas in Bloemfontein on Wednesday.
Only five players – fullback Clayton Blommetjies, wings Craig Barry and Malcolm Jaer, flank Andisa Ntsila and lock Victor Sekekete – were retained from the starting XV that lost 31-38 to the Sharks in Durban this past Sunday.
With just a three-day turnaround, the Cheetahs had very little training time and the bulk of the changes are put down to “rotation”.
“We only had two ‘light’ sessions,” Fourie told a virtual media briefing, adding that most of the preparations were chats in the team room about what went wrong in Durban and what should be focussed on this week.
The most significant selection is the return of veteran captain Ruan Pienaar, the 37-year-old Springbok utility back starting at scrumhalf.
His halfback partner will be talented young flyhalf Reinhardt Fortuin.
There is also a new midfield combination in David Brits and Siya Masuka.
There is an all-new front row of Aranos Coetzee, Marnus van der Merwe and Cameron Dawson.
Jean Drosté returns as the No.5 lock and the impressive Sekekete moves to the front of the line-out.
Aidon Davis starts at No.8 and Junior Pokomela is at No.7 – with Ntsila at No.6.
Players not available due to injury include Marcell Muller (hamstring), George Cronje (knee), Teboho Mohoje (calf), Jeandré Rudolph (knee), Duncan Saal (shoulder) and Cohen Jasper (hamstring).
Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Craig Barry, 13 David Brits, 12 Siya Masuka, 11 Malcolm Jaer, 10 Reinhardt Fortuin, 9 Ruan Pienaar (captain), 8 Aidon Davis, 7 Junior Pokomela, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Jean Drosté, 4 Victor Sekekete, 3 Aranos Coetzee, 2 Marnus van der Merwe, 1 Cameron Dawson.
Replacements: 16 Louis van der Westhuizen, 17 Alulutho Tshakweni, 18 Conraad van Vuuren, 19 Rynier Bernardo, 20 Reinier Viljoen, 21 Mihlali Mosi, 22 Tian Meyer, 23 Chris Smit.
Date: Wednesday, August 18
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 16.45 (14.45 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Local appointments
TMO: Ben Crouse