Cheetahs Enter The Dragons Lair For The First Time
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Cheetahs will be stepping into the Dragons' lair on Friday, looking for the treasure that will help take them to a Final Series in their debut season in Pro14.
The Cheetahs are in need of adding to their recent win over Connacht in order to keep their Final Series challenge in good health. Dragons, however, will be eager to rebound from their recent loss to the Southern Kings.
This will be the Cheetahs' first encounter with the Dragons.
"We've matured a lot as a side and our focus will be on what we need to do. We've have grown tremendously playing in European conditions," said captain Francois Venter. "The biggest lesson we’ve learned in Pro14 is to have control over the moment and to make a positive out of a negative on field."
Coach Rory Duncan has announced his team with some changes from last week.
William Small-Smith is back in action after injury and will be replacing Craig Barry who was on loan from the Stormers. Niel Marais moves to inside centre, replacing the injured Nico Lee.
Rabz Maxwano moves to the starting line-up to replace Luther Obi who sustained an injury in the previous match while Fred Zeilinga will be the starting flyhalf.
Zee Mkhabela makes his way to the bench with Tian Meyer as the starting scrumhalf. Teboho Mohoje will be wearing the No.7 jersey with Henco Venter providing cover on the bench. Carl Wegner, Clinton Swart, and Adriaan Coertzen will all be new additions to the bench
Some of the Cheetahs have been deemed wounded and are not eligible for team selection.
Dennis Visser stands among those with a knee injury. He is joined by Niell Jordaan, Elandré Huggett, Ruan van Rensburg, Luan de Bruin, Shaun Venter, Malcolm Jaer, Nico Lee, Luther Obi, all hosting their own injuries.
Dragons: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Ashton Hewitt, 13 Sam Beard, 12 Connor Edwards, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Arwel Robson, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Lewis Evans, 7 Aaron Wainwright, 6 Harrison Keddie, 5 Cory Hill (captain), 4 Joe Davies, 3 Lloyd Fairbrother, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Sam Hobbs.
Replacements: 16 Ellis Shipp, 17 Gerard Ellis, 18 Dan Suter, 19 Max Williams, 20 Taine Basham, 21 Dan Babos, 22 Adam Warren, 23 Jared Rosser.
Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 William Small-Smith, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 Niel Marais, 11 Sibhale Maxano, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Justin Basson, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Retshegofaditswe Nche.
Replacements: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Carl Wegner, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Zee Mkhabela, 22 Clinton Swart, 23 Adriaan Coertzen.
Date: Friday, March 23
Venue: Rodney Parade, Newport
Kick-off: 19.35; (21.35; 19.35 GMT)
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Ben Whitehouse, Mike English (Wales)
TMO: Jon Mason (Wales)