Luke Watson has failed a fitness test and will be out of action for the next two weeks.
The Western Province captain suffered a knee injury in the dying minutes of Saturday’s loss to the Blue Bulls. After several tests and a visit to a specialist he has been excluded from the Cheetahs game in Bloemfontein.
Francois Louw is also sidelined due to a neck injury while a call still needs to be made on Tonderai Chavhanga, who took a nasty knock to the head last weekend.
Coach Gary Gold will now have to decide on the make-up of his back row. Gerrie Britz is likely to hang onto the No 7 jersey as he provides some much needed strength and height in the line-out, but the other two spots are less certain. Justin Melck is available, but he may play openside with Robbie Diack slotting in at No 8.
Another option is to start young Pieter Myburgh at 6 with either Melck or Diack packing down at the back of the scrum.
The WP team to play Free State will be announced on Thursday afternoon.