Rassie bets on Burger

The Vodacom Cheetahs have made two changes to the starting side that hosts the Sharks in Bloemfontein this weekend.

Phillip Burger’s three-try effort has convinced Free State coach Rassie Erasmus to award him with another start (his third for the season), with Eddie Fredericks dropping to the bench as Bevin Fortuin moves back into the side at fullback. Michael Claasens is the only other change to the side that went down 31-41 to the Vodacom Blue Bulls, and resumes his halfback partnership with Willem de Waal.

In the forwards, Bian Vermaak gets another start in the second row ahead of Barend Pieterse, who has been struggling of late with a thigh injury. Loose forward Heinrich Brussouw and prop Kobus Calldo move to the bench.

Saturday marks the third consecutive battle for the champs, who tussled with the physicality of Sharks pack back on 23 September and then the might of the Vodacom Blue Bulls just last week.

However, the front row of Ollie le Roux, Richardt Strauss and Jannie du Plessis maintain their places as a combination. The dual-fetcher selection of Ryno van der Merwe and Kabamba Floors has also been favoured once again.

For the majority of the season, Erasmus has been very covert about his selections, and the side stated here could be very different to the one that runs out on Saturday.

Cheetahs: 15 Bevin Fortuin, 14 Phillip Burger, 13 JW Jonker, 12 Hendrik Meyer, 11 Gavin Passens, 10 Willem de Waal, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Ryno van der Merwe, 7 Darron Nel, 6 Kabamba Floors, 5 Bian Vermaak, 4 Rory Duncan, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Ollie le Roux (c). Reserves: 16 Jaco du Toit, 17 Kobus Calldo, 18 Quinton Davids, 19 Heinrich Brussouw, 20 Falie Oelschig, 21 Gaffie du Toit, 22 Eddie Fredericks.