Cheetahs bank on veterans for season opener
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Cheetahs will rely on a couple of Springbok veterans when they start their campaign in the new Super Rugby Unlocked competition.
The Cheetahs face the Pumas in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Ruan Pienaar will captain the team.
Pienaar, 36, has 88 Test caps for South Africa and more than 250 first-class games between the Sharks, Ulster, Montpellier and the Cheetahs.
He will get great support from two-time World Cup winner Frans Steyn, who will make his Cheetahs debut.
Steyn, 33, has 67 Bok caps and more than 250 first-class games for the Sharks, Racing Metro, Montpellier and Brave Lupus.
Also making their Cheetahs debuts are Andisa Ntsila and Louis van der Westhuizen.
Players not available due to injury include Wilmar Arnoldi (cheek bone), Reniel Hugo (knee), Aranos Coetzee (ankle), Rhyno Smith (quad) and Duncan Saal (hamstring).
As defending Currie Cup champions, collecting points in the first half of the season – Super Rugby Unlocked – is vital if their want to be in running when the Currie Cup comes to a conclusion in January.
The Cheetahs face the Bulls in their next match – Friday, October 16, in Bloemfontein.
Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Malcolm Jaer, 13 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Ruan Pienaar (captain), 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Junior Pokomela, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Walt Steenkamp, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Reinach Venter, 1 Charles Marais.
Replacements: 16 Louis van der Westhuizen, 17 Boan Venter, 18 Erich de Jager, 19 JP du Preez, 20 Chris Massyn, 21 Aidon Davis, 22 Tian Meyer, 23 William Small-Smith.
Date: Saturday, October 10
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein’
Kick-off: 16.30 (14.30 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Griffin Colby and Ben Crouse
TMO: Stuart Berry