New Cheetahs job for Zeilinga
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Cheetahs coach Rory Duncan has made a few modification to his side for their first encounter against Connacht.
Saturday's clash will be Cheetahs' third Pro14 match in Ireland.
Fred Zeilinga will be starting in his first Pro14 match at fullback, replacing Sergeal Petersen, while Luther Obi will be replacing Raymond Rhule on the right wing.
Petersen and Rhule’s contracts with the Cheetahs ended in October. Both players joined the Stormers this week in Cape Town.
There is also a new centre pair, with Tertius Kruger and Nico Lee, replacing Francois Venter - called up to Springbok squad - and William Small-Smith, who sustained a shoulder injury against Zebre last weekend.
Tertius Kruger will be making his Pro14 debut.
Tighthead props Johan Coetzee and Tom Botha will be switching places - with Coetzee in the starting line-up and Botha on the bench.
Carl Wegner and Rynier Bernardo will be switching places - with Wegner starting and Bernardo on the bench.
In the absence of Teboho Mohoje, who has also been called up for Springbok duty, Junior Pokomela will move from flank to No.8, while Jasper Wiese will be making his Pro14 debut on the flank.
In the hosts' camp, wing Niyi Adeolokun makes his first start of the season for Connacht on Saturday. Adeolokun joins Tiernan O’Halloran and Darragh Leader in the back three, both of whom started in the win against Munster last weekend.
With three players away on international duty, Caolin Blade starts at scrumhalf, Craig Ronaldson at inside centre and Quinn Roux in the second row as Connacht look to make it four wins in a row in all competitions. In the back row Eoghan Masterson comes back in at blindside, Eoin McKeon starts at openside and Captain John Muldoon wears the number 8 jersey.
Naulia Dawai, also returning from injury, is back in the matchday 23 as he takes his place among the replacements.
Connacht centre Tom Farrell, who scored the decisive try against Munster, admits that securing a win over the Cheetahs is the only option.
Speaking ahead of the game Farrell spoke of the need to get a result against Cheetahs before going into the two-week break as the year-end internationals will take centre stage.
"We have been steadily improving since the start of the season and we put together back to back wins in Europe and followed that up with a win against Munster last weekend. The atmosphere was fantastic in the Sportsground and the lift that the fans gave us made all the difference,"
"But we will need to repeat that performance if we are to beat the Cheetahs on Saturday and go into the break with four wins in a row," Farrell added.
Connacht: 15 Tiernan O’Halloran, 14 Darragh Leader, 13 Tom Farrell, 12 Craig Ronaldson,11 Niyi Adeolokun,10 Jack Carty, 9 Caolin Blade, 8 John Muldoon (captain), 7 Eoin McKeon, 6 Eoghan Masterson, 5 James Cannon, 4 Quinn Roux, 3 Finlay Bealham, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 Denis Buckley.
Replacements: 16 Dave Heffernan, 17 Denis Coulson, 18 Conor Carey, 19 Gavin Thornbury, 20 Naulia Dawai, 21 Conor McKeon, 22 Steve Crosbie, 23 Matt Healy.
Cheetahs: 15 Fred Zeilinga, 14 Luther Obi, 13 Tertius Kruger, 12 Nico Lee, 11 Makazola Mapimpi, 10 Ernst Stapelberg, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Junior Pokomela, 7 Jasper Wiese, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Hugo, Reniel, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Torsten Van Jaarsveld (captain), 1 Retshegofaditswe Nche.
Replacements: 16 Joseph Dweba, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Dennis Visser, 20 Rynier Bernardo, 21 Zee Mkhabela, 22 Ali Mgijima, 23 Shaun Venter
Date: Saturday, November 4
Venue: Sportsground, Galway
Kick-off: 19.35 (21.35 SA Time, 19.35 GMT)
Referee: Frank Murphy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: John Lacey, Kieran Barry (Ireland)
TMO: Leo Colgan (Ireland)