Rassie tests the depth

Rassie Erasmus has decided to rest most of his first choice players against the Pumas on Saturday.

The Vodacom Cheetahs side sees six changes to the starting line-up that lost 20-13 at Newlands, and two new names appear on the bench.

“We are actually quite nervous to play the Pumas because with the Lions they are our bogey teams,” Erasmus told keo.co.za. “We have rotated a few players for this game and I’m excited to see a few of the new guys play.”

Gloucester outcast Quinton Davids forms a new locking partnership with Corniel Van Zyl, with last week’s pair of Rory Duncan and Barend Pieterse taking the weekend off. Ollie le Roux also gets a rest and Wian du Preez moves into loosehead, while Richardt Strauss swaps with Jaco du Toit who reverts to the bench.

The most significant change to the pack, however, is the bringing in of the 1.75m, 88kg Kabamba Floors at eighth man. After his performance as a fetcher towards the end of the game last week, it will be interesting to see what he can do from the back of the scrum, and also how he combines with captain Hendro Scholtz and Bian Vermaak.

“I’m especially looking forward to seeing how Kabamba fares at No 8,” said Erasmus. “He has had a good season, but it is a role he can probably do as well as anyone.

“Bian Vermaak comes in and adds height to the loose-trio, while Quinton Davids gets his chance ahead of Rory Duncan. They are both similar players.”

In the backs, Noel Oelschig rotates with Michael Claasens at scrumhalf, and on the bench both Kobus Caldo and Heinrich Brussouw are certain to get game time as Erasmus takes stock of the depth in his team. Chris Kruger also returns to the squad in the place of Gaffie du Toit, who made his debut for the Cheetahs last week.

As Erasmus has stated, they won’t be taking this game lightly.

“We have worked hard on our composure, which was lacking at times last weekend. We need to show more patience in our execution. I didn’t think we played badly at all, but we let ourselves down at crucial times.

“On Saturday we need to take our chances and ensure we stay on top. But we finished on a high note by getting that bonus point at the end against Western Province. Hopefully we can take that momentum into the game on Saturday.”

Vodacom Cheetahs vs Pumas: 15. Bevin Fortuin; 14. Giscard Pieters, 13. JW Jonker, 12. Dale Heidtmann, 11. Gavin Passens; 10. Willem de Waal, 9. Noel Oelschig; 8. Kabamba Floors, 7. Bian Vermaak, 6. Hendro Scholtz (c), 5. Corniel van Zyl, 4. Quinton Davids, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Richardt Strauss, 1. Wian du Preez. Replacements: 16. Jaco du Toit, 17. Kobus Caldo, 18. Flip van der Merwe, 19. Heinrich Brussouw, 20. Michael Claassens, 21. Chris Kruger, 22. Phillip Burger.