Hendro Scholtz will captain the Cheetahs when they host WP this Saturday while Springbok Juan Smith will ride the bench.
Coach Naka Drotske has decided to manage Smith conservatively after his return from a groin operation, and told reporters that the blindside will only play 30 minutes of the opening clash. Smith’s replaced by Francois Uys in the Free State back row.
Philip Snyman has been pushed to the wing in the absence of Lionel Mapoe, while Jongi Nokwe returns from injury to reclaim his No 11 jersey.
Up front, WP Nel and Skipper Badenhorst have been cleared of their respective niggles and will start, but the Cheetahs may be vulnerable at lock with David de Villiers unavailable. Drotske has also failed to include a specialist lock on the bench with loose forwards Smith and Kabamba Floors listed among the reserves.
Cheetahs – 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Philip Snyman, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Jongi Nokwe, 10 Louis Strydom, 9 Tewis de Bruyn, 8 Ashley Johnson, 7 Francois Uys, 6 Hendro Scholtz (c), 5 Waltie Vermeulen, 4 Izak van der Westhuizen, 3 WP Nel, 2 Skipper Badenhorst, 1 Coenie Oosthuizen.
Subs: 16 PW van Vuuren, 17 Kobus Calldo, 18 Juan Smith, 19 Kabamba Floors, 20 Tertius Carse,