The Vodacom Cheetahs have named three changes to the starting XV that defeated the Sharks in Durban last week, along with a few interesting positional switches in the pack.
Giscard Pieters has been ruled out with injury until next year’s Vodacom Super 14, and so Gaffie du Toit comes off the bench onto the left wing, while Gavin Passens moves onto the right.
Ollie le Roux brings his vast scrummaging experience to the starting line-up after watching Wian de Preez run out against the Sharks last week. The Cheetahs have also elected to stick with the much-improved Richardt Strauss at hooker for this, the biggest front row clash of the season.
The Free Staters are famous for their strength in the line-out, and in a move to further enhance this aspect, coach Rassie Erasmus has moved lock Barend Pieterse to the flank to give the Cheetahs more options. The regular blindside Bian Vermaak drops to the bench, while Rory Duncan returns at lock.
Everything points towards an epic battle amongst the forwards, and if it rains on Saturday, the game will be played even closer to the pack.
The performances of Willem de Waal and Morne Steyn are also going to be vital to the outcome of this one, especially their kicking for poles.
The Vodacom Bulls will feel that they avenged their 2005 title loss by beating the Bloemfontein based-side in the Vodacom Super 14, but they are yet to obtain a big win in this year’s domestic competition. Away from home in front of a full house of ardent Free State supporters, it’s going to be anything but easy for Pote Human’s team.
Vodacom Cheetahs: 15 Bevin Fortuin, 14 Gavin Passens, 13 JW Jonker, 12 Dale Heidtmann, 11 Gaffie du Toit, 10 Willem de Waal, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Ryno van der Merwe, 7 Barend Pieterse, 6 Hendro Scholtz (c), 5 Corniel van Zyl, 4 Rory Duncan, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Ollie le Roux. Replacements: 16 Jaco du Toit, 17 Wian du Preez, 18 Bian Vermaak, 19 Kabamba Floors, 20 Falie Oelschig, 21 Chris Kruger and 22 Philip Burger.Â
Vodacom Blue Bulls: 15 Johan Roets, 14 John Mametsa, 13 Frikkie Welsh (c), 12 Dries Scholtz, 11 Marius Delport, 10 MornÃ© Steyn, 9 Neil Powell, 8 Pedrie Wannenburg, 7 Tim Dlulane, 6 Johan Wasserman, 5 Francois van Schouwenburg, 4 Hottie Louw, 3 Rayno Gerber, 2 Gary Botha, 1 Jaco Engels. Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Ruan Vermeulen, 18 Adriaan Fondse, 19 Hilton Lobberts, 20 Derick KuÃ¼n, 21 Stefan Basson and 22 Derick Hougaard.