Bloemfontein – Free State Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské had said heads would roll after his side's embarrassing Currie Cup performance last weekend against the Sharks and the coach remained true to his word.
The run-on side for the tussle against Western Province on Friday would look very different after the coach made five changes to the side, including a positional shift.
Springbok winger Raymond Rhule, lock Waltie Vermeulen, flanker Davon Raubenheimer and prop Rossouw de Klerk were relegated from the side with only Raubenheimer and De Klerk lucky enough to be included on the bench.
Youngsters Piet Lindeque (wing), Freddy Ngoza (lock) and prop Schalk van der Merwe moved into the starting line up. Ngoza would start in place of Teboho Mohoje, who moved to the flank, in Raubenheimer's place.
Stalwart lock Francois Uys had recovered from a lengthy shoulder injury and would make his impact from the bench.
Drotské shuffled his team after his side lost 50-26 against the Sharks, in Durban, and hoped to bounce back against a Province side which shared a joint lead with the Sharks at the top of the log.
“We need a much better and rounded performance against Western Province,” Drotské said.
“We need to pitch for this game mentally, something we did not do in Durban. We leaked too many tries and our defence was also lacking.
“We had a bad start and it blew up in our faces. We can ill afford the same thing against Province.”
The Cheetahs were in fourth position on the points log and could still easily qualify for the knock out stages but Drotské's charges needed to pitch with a different attitude on both the attack as well as defence.
The coach was confident his side would be up for the challenge.
“The most important thing now is to make sure we do indeed reach the knock out stages. If we can do that anything is possible.
“Once you are in the semi-finals, none of your previous results matter. You start from the beginning and build up to playing in a possible final.
“We are amongst the top four sides. We just have to make sure we stay there.”
The Free State Cheetahs side: Hennie Daniller, Riaan Smit, Johann Sadie, Robert Ebersohn, Piet Lindeque, Elgar Watts, Sarel Pretorius, Boom Prinsloo (captain), Teboho Mohoje, Lappies Labuschagne, Lood de Jager, Freddy Ngoza, Trevor Nyakane, Hercu Liebenberg, Schalk van der Merwe. Replacements: AJ le Roux, Rossouw de Klerk, Francois Uys, Davon Raubenheimer, Piet van Zyl, Rayno Benjamin, Willie du Plessis. – Sapa