Cheetahs coach Rassie Erasmus will stick to the tried and tested when he names his side for Friday night’s Super 14 match against the Bulls.
Willem de Waal is expected to start at flyhalf ahead of Bok No 10 Meyer Bosman, with Michael Claassens preferred at scrumhalf.
Former All Black Keith Lowen is not being considered for the first game, so Ronnie Cooke will partner Barry Goodes in midfield, with either Gaffie du Toit or Bevin Fortuin at fullback.
Griquas hooker Tiaan Liebenberg replaces the retired Naka Drotske, while Corniel van Zyl has recovered from his cheeckbone injury and will partner Barend Pieterse in the second row.
Kabamba Floors, who had a great pre-seaon campaign, will replace the injured Hendro Scholtz.
The Cheetahs have had an almost ideal build-up to their opeing Super 14 clash, with injuries not that disruptive and the weather playing into their hands.
“We can’t complain,” said Erasmus. “The weather has been cool this week and for training that has been perfect as the players should peak on Friday night.”
Erasmus has also been fortunate with regard to serious injuries to key players. Alongside the loss of the likes of CJ van der Linde, Gavin Passens and Hendro Scholtz (all injured last year), the Cheetahs will also be without Lowen, who picked up a muscle strain playing squash last week, Ollie le Roux (hamstring) and Alwyn Hollenbach (shoulder).
Possible Cheetahs side:
15 Gaffie du Toit/Bevin Fortuin, 14 Eddie Fredericks, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Barry Goodes, 11 Sinethemba Zweni, 10 Willem de Waal, 9 Michael Claassen, 8 Ryno van der Merwe, 7 Juan Smith (c), 6 Kabamba Floors, 5 Corniel van Zyl, 4 Barend Pieterse, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Wiaan du Preez.