Free State favour fetchers

Rassie Erasmus has made only two changes to the Vodacom Cheetahs starting side that edged out the Sharks in Bloemfontein.

Kabamba Floors is granted another start in a back row that shuffles to accomodate Ryno van der Merwe at No 8 and Darron Nel on the blindside. In the backline, veteran Chris Kruger returns for Alwyn Hollenbach at outside centre.

Reports from the Free State camp had indicated that Barend Pieterse sustained a quadricep injury that would rule him out for the rest of the season, and yet he has been named in the starting line-up for this weekend’s game against the Vodacom Blue Bulls.

Darron Nel, Rory Duncan and Jannie du Plessis have all recovered from their niggles and will take the field against the Bulls, while lock Corniel van Zyl is fit a week ahead of schedule and will play off the bench.

Judging from the team that has been put forward today (which could undoubtedly change before kickoff at Loftus), Erasmus has favoured a back row that is quicker and more competitive at the breakdown. The playing of two fetchers in Van der Merwe and Floors, smaller players who hurt teams in the turnover stakes, is a tactic surely employed to disrupt the momentum of the impressive Bulls pack.

Cheetahs: 15 Bevin Fortuin, 14 Eddie Fredericks, 13 Chris Kruger, 12 Hendrik Meyer, 11 Gaffie du Toit, 10 Willem de Waal, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Ryno van der Merwe, 7 Darron Nell, 6 Kabamba Floors, 5 Barend Pieterse, 4 Rory Duncan, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Ollie le Roux (c). Replacements: 16 Jaco du Toit, 17 Wian du Preez, 18 Corniel van Zyl, 19 Heinrich Brussouw, 20 Falie Oelschig, 21 Philip Burger, 22 Gavin Passens.