Bloemfontein – Free State Cheetahs coach Rory Duncan has made two positional changes to his side for their tough Currie Cup encounter against the Pumas in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

He opted to replace experienced centre Joubert Engelbrecht with youngster JP du Plessis, while former Shimlas flyhalf Pieter-Steyn de Wet would get a starting birth ahead of Willie du Plessis.

“We are more than happy with the type of rugby Joubert has been playing at centre but we feel JP will suit the sort of game we plan to play against the Pumas,” Duncan said.

“Pieter-Steyn also gets a start as part of our rotational structures.”

Super Rugby player Jean Cook would spearhead a loose trio which also included youngsters Neill Claassen and Tienie Burger.

“We have spoken about the fire power of the Pumas with regards to their loose forwards,” Duncan said.

“Guys like Tienie and Neill have really come to the party, while we all know the wealth of experience a guy like Jean Cook adds.”

The Cheetahs had worked hard at their scrums after a poor display in early encounter against the Pumas in Nelspruit. Duncan said they had improved in leaps and bounds.

“We had a couple of disruptions with guys like Coenie and Caylib Oosthuizen out injured, but the younger guys have really put their hands up.

“We scrummed pretty well against Griquas and will take a lot of heart and momentum from that performance.”

Free State Cheetahs: Clayton Blommetjies, Rayno Benjamin, JP du Plessis, Francois Venter, Raymond Rhule, Pieter-Steyn de Wet, Sarel Pretorius, Jean Cook, Neill Claassen, Tienie Burger, Francois Uys, Henco Venter, Rudolph Botha, Torsten van Jaarsveld (captain), Kevin Stevens.

Replacements: AJ le Roux, George Marich, Werner Lourens, Vincent Jobo, Shaun Venter, Willie du Plessis, Joubert Engelbrecht.– Sapa