Second row resources exhausted
Two of the Free State Cheetahs' key forwards have been ruled out of their Currie Cup crunch match with the Golden Lions in Bloemfontein on Friday.
No.8 Philip van der Walt (shoulder) and lock Lodewyk de Jager (concussion) have both succumb to their respective injuries.
The ray of light at the end of the dark tunnel for the Cheetahs, who are coming off a 26-10 hammering at the hands of the Blue Bulls, is that flyhalf Elgar Watts has been cleared for Friday's outing.
Watts has been troubled by a hamstring strain and has been unable to train earlier this week.
Davon Raubenheimer comes in at No.8 to fill the void left by
Van der Walt's injury, while Waltie Vermeulen comes in for De Jager.
The injury crisis in the second row - which has seen De Jager join Francois Uys (arm) and Andries Ferreira (shoulder) on the sidelines - means the Cheetahs had to dip deep into their resources.
Shimlas loose forward Freddie Ngoza, who was at flank alongside Teboho Mohoje in the Varsity Cup this year, will come onto the bench and provide cover at lock.
Tertius Daniller could make his Currie Cup debut for the Cheetahs, after being named on the bench to provide loose forward cover. The former University of Stellenbosch star, who played in the Vodacom Cup competition for Free State earlier this year, is the brother of fullback Hennie.
Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské admitted that losing two vital players ahead of the clash was not ideal.
"It's never easy losing guys, especially Philip [van der Walt] and Lood [de Jager], because of their vast experience, but the guys who come in are experienced in their own way and will certainly do their part," Drotské said.
"We all know that Waltie is very good in the line-outs, while Davon has really improved over the last couple of weeks.
"He is a hard worker at practice and a player that can also play at Super Rugby level and we are confident he will be up for the challenge."
Free State Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Riaan Smit, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Davon Raubenheimer, 7 Pieter Labuschagné, 6 Johannes Prinsloo (captain), 5 Waltie Vermeulen, 4 Teboho Mohoje, 3 Rossouw de Klerk, 2 Hercu Liebenberg, 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Replacements: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Wian du Preez, 18 Freddie Ngoza, 19 Tertius Daniller, 20 Kevin Luiters, 21 Willie du Plessis, 22 Piet Lindeque.
Date: Friday, September 13
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 19.10 (17.10 GMT)
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: Lusanda Jam, Sakkie Meyer
TMO: Gerrie Coetzee