Cheetahs sharpen teeth for battle

The Vodacom Cheetahs have made a few changes to the side that thrashed the Lions in Bloemfontein last week.

Blindside flanker Bian Vermaak comes into the squad at the expense of Darron Nell, while lock Rory Duncan gets a start ahead of Corniel van Zyl against Vodacom Western Province.

The one change on the bench is the omission of Chris Kruger in favour of Gaffie du Toit, who has been released from the Springboks for the Absa Currie Cup.

Vermaak’s selection in the starting XV seems a surprise considering how well Kabamba Floors played against the Lions. Free State coach Rassie Erasmus may be planning on utilising Floors as an impact player in the second half, whilst the bulk of Vermaak should be effective against the Province forwards early on in the game.

Near on 2m, Vermaak’s inclusion can only strengthen the Cheetahs line-out.

Having represented Griquas (1998-1999), KwaZulu-Natal (2000-2002) and WP (2003-2005), Gaffie du Toit will now make his debut for the Free State Cheetahs off the bench.

Du Toit was brought into the Springbok set-up once again for the June Tests against Scotland and France, but has since been dropped. At the watershed rugby age of 30, this season with the current domestic champions should be the decider of Du Toit’s future with the national side.

Vodacom WP: 15. Gio Aplon, 14. Joe Pietersen, 13. Corne Uys, 12. Peter Grant, 11. Egon Seconds, 10. Naas Olivier, 9. Bolla Conradie, 8. Robbie Diack, 7. Justin Melck, 6. Luke Watson (c), 5. Gerrie Britz, 4. Francois van der Merwe, 3. Juan Harris, 2. Schalk Brits, 1. JD Moller. Reserves: 16. Huia Edmonds, 17. Schalk Ferreira, 18. Rob Linde, 19. Pieter Louw, 20. Paul Delport, 21. Sarel Potgieter, 22. Zhahier Ryland.

Vodacom Cheetahs: 15. Bevin Fortuin, 14. Giscard Pieters, 13. JW Jonker, 12. Dale Heidtmann, 11. Gavin Passens, 10. Willem de Waal, 9. Michael Claasens, 8. Ryno van der Merwe, 7. Bian Vermaak, 6. Hendro Scholtz (c), 5. Barend Pieterse, 4. Rory Duncan, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Jaco du Toit, 1. Ollie le Roux. Reserves: 16. Richardt Strauss, 17. Wian du Preez, 18. Corniel van Zyl, 19. Kabamba Floors, 20. Noel Oelschig, 21. Phillip Burger, 22. Gaffie du Toit.

By Jon Cardinelli