Springbok flank Uzair Cassiem. Photo: Gerhard Steenkamp, BackpagePix
JOHANNESBURG – With the Springbok squad named for the June Tests and their being out of the running to make the play-offs there really is nothing but pride on the line for the Cheetahs when they tackle the Sunwolves in Tokyo on Saturday.

Franco Smith’s men have not had a good time of it on the road having already lost to the Blues and Hurricanes, but against an equally struggling side tomorrow can salvage some sort of pride. Then again, the Sunwolves, too, will believe they have a chance to register just their second win of the competition.

The Cheetahs go into the match having won just twice in 12 matches, while their hosts have managed just one win. There’s not much separating the teams that occupy positions seven (Cheetahs) and eight (Sunwolves) on the Africa Group log.

But Bok squad members Raymond Rhule and Oupa Mohoje will be keen to make a big impression, while SA “A” team players Uzair Cassiem, Ox Nche and Fred Zeilinga will also hope for a quality outing.

Unfortunately for the Cheetahs, regular skipper and the man most likely to lead the SA “A” team, Francois Venter, is missing because of a hamstring injury picked up against the Hurricanes a week ago. In his absence, hooker Torsten van Jaarsveld, will lead the side.

Also still out of action is live-wire flank Paul Schoeman, who developed a thrombosis in his leg on the flight to New Zealand just over two weeks ago.

Saturday’s match kicks off at 7.15am, SA time.

Sunwolves: Kotaro Matsushima, Takaaki Nakazuru, Derek Carpenter, Harumichi Tatekawa, Shota Emi, Yu Tamura, Fumiaki Tanaka, Rahboni Warren Vosayaco, Shuhei Matsuhashi, Malgene Ilaua, Sam Wykes, Kotaro Yatabe, Takuma Asahara, Yusuke Niwai, Keita Inagaki. Replacements: Takeshi Hino, Koki Yamamoto, Yasuo Yamaji, Hitoshi Ono, Shokei Kin, Keisuke Uchida, Jumpei Ogura, William Tupou

Cheetahs: Clayton Blommetjies, Sergeal Petersen, William Small-Smith, Clinton Swart, Raymond Rhule, Niel Marais, Shaun Venter, Henco Venter, Oupa Mohoje, Uzair Cassiem, Carl Wegner, Armandt Koster, Johan Coetzee, Torsten van Jaarsveld (capt), Ox Nche. Replacements: Elandre Huggett, Charles Marais, Tom Botha, Francois Uys, Niell Jordaan, Junior Pokomela, Tian Meyer, Fred Zeilinga

@jacq_west

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