Cane boost for Chiefs
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Chiefs co-captain Sam Cane is fully recovered from the concussion he sustained in his side's game against the Bulls two weeks ago and will start at openside flank against the Cheetahs on Saturday.
Cane is one of six changes to the starting XV which lost 26-34 to a challenging Stormers side last Saturday in Cape Town, their first defeat of the 2017 Super Rugby season.
In the forwards, Brayden Mitchell earns his first start for the Chiefs at hooker, while Taleni Seu is promoted from the bench to join Brodie Retallick in the second row. Mitchell Brown returns to the starting XV to wear jersey No.6.
In the backs, Anton Lienert-Brown shifts from outside centre to No.12, with Sam McNicol making his first start for the season in jersey No.13.
Of note in the reserves is the inclusion of 20-year-old Tasman back Alex Nankivell. The young midfielder made his Super Rugby debut against the Stormers last Saturday, after joining the 23 as a late replacement for his Tasman teammate Finlay Christie. Christie had to withdraw from the match due to illness, but is back to full health this week and ready to add impact off the bench in jersey 21.
Following Saturdays Round Eight fixture, the Chiefs head to Perth to take on the Western Force, before returning home to face the Sunwolves for the first time ever April 29.
Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Toni Pulu, 13 Sam McNicol, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (co-captain), 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Sam Cane (co-captain), 6 Mitchell Brown, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Taleni Seu, 3 Atu Moli, 2 Brayden Mitchell, 1 Kane Hames.
Replacements: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Siegfried Fisi'ihoi, 18 Sosefo Kautai, 19 Dominic Bird, 20 Liam Messam, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Alex Nankivell, 23 Shaun Stevenson.
Date: Saturday, April 15
Venue: Free State Stadium, Pretoria
Kick-off: 15.05 (13.05 GMT; 01.05 NZ Time Sunday. April 16)
Referee: Jaco van Heerden (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa), Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)