Cheetahs change one for Kings Park
Cheetahs change one for Kings ParkSHARE
The Free State Cheetahs have made just one change to their starting line-up for their Currie Cup semifinal against the Sharks at Kings Park on Saturday.
Riaan Smit is back from injury and claims the No.14 jersey from Ryno Benjamin who drops to the bench, whilst the rest of the starting XV is unchanged from the side that got the better of the Bulls last week.
Joining Benjamin on the bench is the Springbok halfback pairing of Johan Goosen and Piet van Zyl, with Goosen set to take over from Elgar Watts in the second half.
Prop Schalk van der Merwe, who was shown a red card against the Bulls last week, misses out with Rossouw de Klerk taking his place on the bench.
The only other change to the match-day 22 sees hooker Hercu Liebenberg come in to replace AJ le Roux as cover for skipper Adriaan Strauss.
"The reason for Riaan Smit's inclusion is that he is our first-choice goal-kicker," said Cheetahs backline coach Hawies Fourie.
"In a semifinal, you will take every opportunity for points which come your way and that is why we have decided to include him.
"Riaan has kicked 15 out of 15 attempts thus far and will be our go-to man with regards to kicking against the Sharks."
Coach Naka Drotske was pleased to have his first-choice centre pairing of Robert Ebersohn and Johann Sadie as well as his Springbok front row of Trevor Nyakane, Adriaan Strauss and Coenie Oosthuizen at his disposal.
"Johann and Robert have played together in the Super Rugby competition and they have played in every Currie Cup game so far this year," Drotske said.
"They are stalwarts in every respect and we will look to them to give us momentum on attack as well as defence.
"In the scrums we expect another tough battle, as our Springbok front row will pack down against another of the Sharks. It is going to be a hard match, that is for sure."
As for his bench, Drotske said: "We feel that Hercu has recovered from his injury efficiently and that we can include him.
"He was the man in the saddle when Adriaan Strauss was involved with the Springboks and his lineout throws are also more on target than AJ's."
Drotske included Springbok flyhalf Johan Goosen among the replacements after he played the last couple of minutes against the Pretoria-based outfit.
"We have opted to name him [Goosen] on the bench again, as we are managing him after a lengthy injury," he said.
"Just like Frans Steyn's return for the Sharks, Goosen's return is also a game of chance."
Free State Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Riaan Smit, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Boom Prinsloo, 5 Lodewyk De Jager, 4 Francois Uys, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Coenie Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Hercu Liebenberg, 17 Rossouw de Klerk, 18 Teboho Mohoje, 19 Freddy Ngoza, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Johan Goosen, 22 Ryno Benjamin.
Date: Saturday, October 19
Venue: Kings Park, Durban
Kick-off: 17.00 (15.00 GMT)
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Referees: Rasta Rasivhenge, Cobus Wessels
TMO: Deon van Blommestein