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Continuity key for Cheetahs

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Cheetahs will welcome the Sharks to Bloemfontein on Sunday for a mouth-watering EPCR Challenge Cup local derby.

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The Round Two clash is expected to be a typical hard-fought derby with both sides priding themselves on their set pieces and solid attack.

The Cheetahs got their first top-class game of the year in the EPCR Challenge Cup as they capitalized on their point-scoring chances to register an invaluable 33-15 away against Zebre Parma in Italy.

Cheetahs head coach Hawies Fourie will be backing on continuity as he made just two changes to the starting line-up.

In the front row, Hencus van Wyk replaces Laurence Victor at tight head.

The other change is the backline which sees Daniel Kasende coming in for Siba Xamlashe at the right wing.

Jeandrè Rudolph will be reaching a milestone when he sets foot on the field for his 50th game for the Cheetahs.

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“From our side, we are happy with the preparations. I think with the game over the weekend we showed that even though we didn’t get a lot of game time before that we got a lot of things right,” Cheetahs forward coach Izak van der Westhuizen said.

“We’re looking forward to the challenge of playing against the Sharks on the weekend.”

Commenting on the match, Cheetah’s captain Victor Sekekete said: “This is a true benchmark for us.

“It is a game where we can look at and see how we measure. It’s been a while since we had a good-fought battle. For us forwards, we always look forward to a battle and we know this weekend the Springbok players are going to get their boost. It’s going to be a good encounter upfront.”

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Cheetahs: 15 Tapiwa Mafura, 14 Daniel Kasende, 13 Evardi Boshoff, 12 Reinhardt Fortuin, 11 Cohen Jasper, 10 George Lourens, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Jeandrè Rudolph, 7 Friedle Olivier, 6 Gideon van der Merwe, 5 Victor Sekekete (captain), 4 Rynier Bernardo, 3 Hencus van Wyk, 2 Marnus van der Merwe, 1 Cameron Dawson
Replacements: 16 Louis van der Westhuizen, 17 Alulutho Tshakweni, 18 Laurance Victor, 19 Carl Wegner, 20 Daniel Maartens, 21 Sibabalo Qoma, 22 Rewan Kruger, 23 Ali Mgijima

Date: Sunday, December 17
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 15.00 (13.00)
Referee: Andrea Piardi (Italy)
Assistant referees: Benoit Rousselet (France), Filippo Russo (Italy)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (France)

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