Bloemfontein – The Cheetahs will have to make do without scrum half and star playmaker Sarel Pretorius when they take on the Brumbies in a Super Rugby encounter in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
The ever-present Pretorius injured his ankle in the Cheetahs 16-23 loss against the Western Force last weekend in the City of Roses and will be sidelined for three to four weeks.
He is replaced by Shaun Venter in the starting line up, with the inexperienced Renier Botha coming onto the replacement bench.
Griquas scrum half Tian Meyer was next in line to be Venter's understudy, but, with Griquas playing in the final of the Vodacom Cup against the Golden Lions on Friday, the Cheetahs have opted not to disrupt their neighbours by pulling Meyer into the match day 23.
“We have a good working relationship with Griquas. We want to see them win the Vodacom Cup and we want to see them back in the Currie Cup later on as well,” Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské said on Thursday.
“It is important for them to perform and to do what they need to, to be at full strength.”
Willem Serfontein has been promoted into the lock position as Andries Ferreira is out injured. Again, Griquas lock Hilton Lobberts was the obvious choice but is a key player in Friday's cup final.
“We can't achieve anything more in the Super Rugby competition so we don't want to disrupt Griquas. If we were still in with a chance for the playoffs, then obviously it would have been a different scenario.”
In the only other change to the Cheetahs side, Springbok sevens player Cornal Hendricks comes in for the injured Raymond Rhule, who is still struggling with a slight ankle injury.
“Cornal is a good player and more than capable of standing in for Raymond. There is very little to choose between the two of them,” Drotske said.
“Cornal will play for sixty minutes or so and if Raymond is capable, he will be given the opportunity to make an impact from the replacement bench. If he can't, we won't give him game time and rest him another week.”
The Cheetahs: Hennie Daniller, Cornal Hendricks, Johann Sadie, Rayno Benjamin, Willie le Roux, Johan Goosen, Shaun Venter, Boom Prinsloo, Oupa Mohoje, Heinrich Brüssow, Francois Uys, Willem Serfontein, Coenie Oosthuizen, Adriaan Strauss (captain), Caylib Oosthuizen. Replacements: Torsten van Jaarsveld, Trevor Nyakane, Maks van Dyk, Waltie Vermeulen, Carel Greeff, Renier Botha, Elgar Watts, Raymond Rhule. – Sapa