Duncan to lead Chief charge

Rory Duncan will skipper the Cheetahs in the absence of Juan Smith when the central franchise travel to Waikato Stadium this Saturday.

The successful Currie Cup captain assumes Smith’s mantle with the latter unable to tour due to a knee injury. Flanker-cum-lock Darron Nell will wear the No 7 jersey in Smith’s stead when the central franchise tackle the Chiefs. The pack also welcomes back line-out kingpin Barend Pieterse, meaning David de Villiers returns to the bench.

Flyhalf Jacques-Louis Potgieter (groin) and wing Gavin Passens (hamstring) have also been left behind because of injury and will be replaced by Conrad Barnard and Jongi Nokwe respectively. This will be Nokwe’s first Super Rugby appearance since 2006 after he was snubbed by the Stormers and Lions last season.

The Cheetahs are desperate for a victory having lost three at home, the last fixture a 50-point hiding at the hands of the Blues. However, they will face a Chiefs side who are also short a few stars, with captain Jonno Gibbes ruled out for six weeks. Richard Kahui, Jamie Nutbrown and Brendon Leonard will all miss this crucial match-up on Saturday because of injury.

“They’re always harder to play at home, but like us, they’ve not enjoyed a good start to the season,” Cheetahs assistant coach Hawies Fourie told keo.co.za. “They’re definitely beatable. This game is one of the two we’ve really targeted in the preparations for our tour.”

Kabamba Floors has been ruled out of this fixture because of a neck injury. Fourie confirmed Floors was injured in the act of scoring a try last week, banging his head against the knee of Blues fullback Isa Nacewa. The injury is not serious and Floors should be back for the next game against the Crusaders, but his absence will allow Hendro Scholtz his first appearance in the 2008 Super 14 from the bench.

Cheetahs – Hennie Daniller; Eddie Fredericks, JW Jonker, Meyer Bosman, Jongi Nokwe; Conrad Barnard, Noel Oelschig; Duanne Vermeulen, Darron Nell, Heinrich Brussouw, Barend Pieterse, Rory Duncan (c), Kobus Calldo, Adriaan Strauss, Wian du Preez.
Subs: Richard Strauss, Ronnie Uys, David de Villiers, Hendro Scholtz, Tobie Botes, Tewis de Bruyn, Hendrik Meyer.

By Jon Cardinelli