Venter back to lead Cheetahs
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Springbok midfielder Francois Venter will be making his first appearance of the season for the Cheetahs against the Sharks in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Venter returns to action after undergoing ankle surgery in December and missed the first four rounds of the Super Rugby competition.
He will also take over the captaincy.
Other players also returning from injury include Retshegofaditswe Nche, Justin Basson, Raymond Rhule, Nico Lee and Sergeal Petersen.
Johan Coetzee, Paul Schoeman, Shaun Venter and Fred Zeilinga also move from the bench to the starting line-up.
Torsten van Jaarsveld will be starting on hooker, while Elandré Huggett moves to the bench.
Henco Venter moves from flank to No.8, while Niell Jordaan moves to the bench.
Other players moving to the bench are Tom Botha, Tian Meyer and Niel Marais, while Ryno Benjamin and Clinton Swart are bracketed on the bench.
"I'm excited to be back in the team," Venter said.
"It was frustrating to be on the sideline, but I'm very proud of the team's performance so far and I think that they've had a great start to the season.
"I now have the responsibility to be as competitive as my teammates were from the start of the season," Venter added.
Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 Nico Lee, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Henco Venter, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Justin Basson, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Retshegofaditswe Nche.
Replacements: 16 Elandré Huggett, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Carl Wegner, 20 Niell Jordaan, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Niel Marais, 23 Ryno Benjamin/Clinton Swart.
Date: Saturday, March 25
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 17.15 (15.15 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Jaco van Heerden, Lourens van der Merwe
TMO: Johan Greeff
* Cheetahs Director of Rugby Rory Duncan speaks to OFM Sport about the signing of the exciting wing Luther Obi