Cheetahs team to play Lions

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iol spt jna23 Cheetahs Gallo Images The Cheetahs will be playing the Lions in a pre-season friendly on Saturday. Photo by Carl Fourie / Gallo Images

Veteran rugby centre JP Nel will partner with Robert Ebersohn in midfield for the Cheetahs' first pre-season warm-up game on Saturday against the Lions in Johannesburg.

Nel, a former Bulls' centre who joined Griquas and the Cheetahs after a two-year stint in Japan, will get his first taste of Super Rugby since his last outing for the Bulls in the 2009 season.

Cheetahs' coach Naka Drotske has chosen to give Springbok hooker Adriaan Strauss a rest after a packed 2012 season, and Ebersohn will take over the captaincy for Saturday's outing.

The coach also has some injury concerns, with locks Martin Muller (groin) and Andries Ferreira (knee) as well as flanker Heinrich Brussow (shoulder) still injured.

Muller will be out for at least three months and is replaced by Francois Uys for the game against the Lions.

He will partner Lodewyk de Jager to form the Cheetahs tight five, which is bolstered by Rossouw de Klerk, Torsten van Jaarsveld and Caylib Oosthuizen in the front row.

In the backline, Drotske has maintained many of his stars of last year's Currie Cup, with pace winger Raymond Rhule and Hennie Daniller (fullback) the most notable. Francois Brummer, who joined Griquas from the Bulls in 2012, gets his first run at fly half.

The Cheetahs team: Hennie Daniller, Jannie Boshoff, JP Nel, Robert Ebersohn (captain), Raymond Rhule, Francois Brummer, Piet van Zyl, Boom Prinsloo, Tertius Daniller, Marnus Schoeman, Francois Uys, Lodewyk de Jager, Rossouw de Klerk, Torsten van Jaarsveld, Caylib Oosthuizen. Replacements: Hercu Liebenberg, Trevor Nyakane, Ligtoring Landman, Waltie Vermeulen, Tewis de Bruyn, Barry Geel, Hansie Graaff. – Sapa


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