Cheetahs playing a waiting game
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Cheetahs are waiting for a late fitness call on two-time World Cup winner Frans Steyn, as they prepare to face the Stormers on Saturday.
Following last week’s disappointing (13-19) loss to the Sharks – the first outing in a two-match road trip – the Cheetahs must beat the Stormers at Newlands to keep their fading hopes alive of claiming the Super Rugby Unlocked title.
Steyn pulled out of last week’s trip to Kings Park with a groin injury and his absence was evident in the disjointed Cheetahs backline in Durban.
Steyn trained in Bloemfontein on Thursday morning, but coach Hawies Fourie said they would like to see if he doesn’t pull up again.
Apart from bringing the veteran Springbok into the midfield, in place of Chris Smit, the Cheetahs backline is unchanged from that which featured in the loss to the Sharks.
The pack shows three changes from the trip to Durban.
Jeandré Rudolph, a recent import from the Pumas, start at No.8 in place of Aidon Davis – who joins Smit on the bench.
The other changes are at lock.
Ian Groenewald comes in as the No.4 lock, with Carl Wegner moving to the back (No.5) lock and Jean-Pierre du Preez also dropping down to the bench.
Several players are not available for team selection due to injury – including Wilmar Arnoldi (cheekbone), Reniel Hugo (knee), Aranos Coetzee (ankle), Duncan Saal (hamstring), Ruan Pienaar (knee), Craig Barry (knee).
After five rounds of action, the Bulls remain the log leaders on 19 points from four wins, followed by the Sharks and Stormers (both on 13 points), the Cheetahs (12), Lions (10), Pumas (five) and the winless Griquas (two).
Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Malcolm Jaer, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Jeandré Rudolph, 7 Junior Pokomela (captain), 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Carl Wegner, 4 Ian Groenewald, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Reinach Venter, 1 Charles Marais.
Replacements: 16 Boan Venter, 17 Marnus van der Merwe, 18 Khutha Mchunu, 19 Jean-Pierre du Preez, 20 Aidon Davis, 21 Ruben de Haas, 22 Reinhardt Fortuin, 23 Chris Smit.
Date: Saturday, November 14
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
Kick-off: 19.00 (17.00 GMT)
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: Cwengile Jadezweni, Egon Seconds
TMO: Joey Klaaste-Salmans