All change for Cheetahs
All change for CheetahsSHARE
The Cheetahs have made 14 changes to the side that played the Lions last week for their pre-season clash with the Stormers in Bloemfontein this weekend.
The Free State franchise are intent on carefully assessing their options ahead of the new Super Rugby season, which has resulted in just fullback Hennie Daniller keeping his spot in the starting line-up for the warm-up match against last year's South African conference winners.
Griquas wings Jannie Boshoff and Rocco Jansen get an opportunity to show what they are capable of outside the interesting centre partnership of Rayno Benjamin and Johann Sadie.
Cheetahs backline coach Hawies Fourie explained to this website that although Benjamin has played most of his rugby on the wing, they are considering his value in the midfield and want to give him an opportunity to show his worth there this weekend.
"We are looking at a few combinations at 12, we gave Robert Ebersohn a go last week and he did OK in the 40 minutes that he played and then Barry Geel played in the second half.
"We feel that Rayno has got something to offer there so we want to give him a chance against good opposition and see what he does.
"He is still one of the top three wings within our squad, but when you go on tour you need guys that can act as utility players as well so we will give him a run there and then compare that with how Robert and Barry did in the game-time that they got," he said.
Riaan Smit and Sarel Pretorius will start as the halfback combination, which will give the Cheetahs coaches a chance to compare their performances with those of Francois Brummer and Piet van Zyl last week.
Fourie said that Smit is up against Brummer and Elgar Watts in the fight for the back-up flyhalf position behind Springbok Johan Goosen who should be fit by the start of the season.
"We have got to compare him (Smit) with a guy like Francois Brummer who had a very good Currie Cup for Griquas. Riaan only played two games for us and then got injured during the Currie Cup so that is why he got a go last week against the Lions and we will give him a fair go this week to see between the two who will be our number two flyhalf.
"Then there is a guy like Elgar Watts as well, he will get game-time in the second half because he is also in contention for that second flyhalf spot.
There are also quite a few Griquas players in the forward pack as well with flank Davon Raubenheimer, lock Rynhardt Landman and prop Lourens Adriaanse all getting a chance to start along with skipper Adriaan Strauss who makes his first appearance of the year.
Fourie said that it is important to consider all of their options before settling on a final squad,
"It is a case of giving everyone an equal opportunity, Griquas played well in the Currie Cup as a team and then as individuals as well so a lot of them deserve to be in the team and stake a claim in our side.
Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Jannie Boshoff, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Rayno Benjamin, 11 Rocco Jansen, 10 Riaan Smit, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Phillip van der Walt, 7 Davon Raubenheimer, 6 Johannes Prinsloo, 5 Doppies Vermeulen, 4 Rynhardt Landman, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Replacements: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Lodewyk de Jager, 19 Francois Uys, 20 Frans Viljoen, 21 Juan Smith, 22 Lappies Labuschagne, 23 Piet van Zyl, 24 Elgar Watts, 25 Barry Geel, 26 Willie le Roux, 27 Hansie Graaff.
Date: Saturday, February 2
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 17.00 (15.00 GMT)
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe