Mkhabela comes in for injured Venter
Mkhabela will be replacing Shaun Venter, who has been sidelined due to an injury. Returning from injury, Tian Meyer will be providing cover on the bench.
Meyer will be playing in his 50th match for the Cheetahs as soon as he sets foot on the field.
Retshegofaditswe Nche and Aranos Coetzee will be the starting props with Charles Marais and Tom Botha on the bench. Coetzee will be playing in his 50th match for the Cheetahs.
Luther Obi will be replacing the injured Malcolm Jaer and Rabs Mazwano will be providing cover on the bench.
The two sides met in Galway in Round Eight with Connacht winning 23-15. The Cheetahs would want to gather points at home after for three defeats on tour. They have lost just once at home this campaign.
Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Craig Barry, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 Nico Lee, 11 Luther Obi, 10 Niel Marais, 9 Mthokozisi Mkhabela, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Henco Venter, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Justin Basson, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Retshegofaditswe Nche.
Replacements: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Renier Bernardo, 20 Teboho Mohoje, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Fred Zeilinga, 23 Sibhale Maxano.
Connacht: 15 Tiernan O’Halloran, 14 Cian Kelleher, 13 Eoin Griffin, 12 Pita Ahki, 11 Matt Healy, 10 Jack Carty, 9 Caolin Blade, 8 John Muldoon (captain), 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Sean O’Brien, 5 James Cannon, 4 Ultan Dillane, 3 Finlay Bealham, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 Denis Buckley.
Replacements: 16 Shane Delahunt, 17 Denis Coulson, 18 Dominic Robertson McCoy, 19 Gavin Thornbury, 20 Eoghan Masterson, 21 James Mitchell, 22 Craig Ronaldson, 23 Niyi Adeolokun.
Date: Saturday, March 3
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 19:35 (17.35 UK & Ireland Time; 17:35 GMT)
Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Ben Crouse (South Africa), Jaco Kotze (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)