Marais takes centre stage against Stormers

Thu, 30 Mar 2017 11:25
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TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Cheetahs regular flyhalf Niel Marais will don the number 12 jersey in the crucial Super Rugby clash against the Stormers.

The flyhalf Marias will move to inside centre while Nico Lee will take a spot on the bench.

Out wide, Sergeal Petersen replaces JW Jonker in the starting XV. The wing was sidelined for more than a month due to a knee injury and was set to make his return last week against the Sharks. However, Petersen was pulled out of the team the Saturday morning with a hamstring strain.

In the front, Charles Marais will put on the number one jersey while Retshegofaditswe Nche moves to the bench.

And at lock, Armandt Koster will be replacing Justin Basson.

Head coach Franco Smith has also included newly signed Luther Obi in his squad.  The former Blue Bulls wing Obi will be replacing Ryno Benjamin on the bench and could be making his Super Rugby debut when he gets called onto the field.

Meanwhile, Francois Venter has been included in the side. However, his availability is still in doubt after he picked up a minor hamstring strain during his side's 30-38 loss to the Sharks last week.

The Cheetahs' mentor revealed to rugby365.com on Wednesday that he will delay Venter's final inclusion as late as possible.

Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 Niel Marais, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Henco Venter, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Armandt Koster, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Charles Marais.
Replacements: 16 Elandré Huggett, 17  Retshegofaditswe Nche
18 Tom Botha, 19 Carl Wegner, 20 Niell Jordaan, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Nico Lee, 23 Luther Obi

Date: Saturday, April 1
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
Kick-off: 15.05 (13.05 GMT)
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman (South Africa), Cwengile Jadezweni (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 13 6 0 7 33
Waratahs 13 4 0 9 19
Force 13 4 0 9 17
Reds 13 3 0 10 17
Rebels 13 1 1 11 8
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 14 14 0 0 63
Hurricanes 14 11 0 3 54
Chiefs 14 11 1 2 53
Highlanders 14 10 0 4 46
Blues 14 7 1 6 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 12 7 0 5 30
Cheetahs 13 3 0 10 16
Bulls 12 3 0 9 15
Sunwolves 12 1 0 11 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 13 12 0 1 56
Sharks 13 9 1 3 42
Jaguares 12 5 0 7 24
Kings 12 4 0 8 19