Bloemfontein – Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske has made two positional and two injury enforced changes to his side that will face the Sharks at Kings Park in Durban on Saturday afternoon.
Springbok flanker Heinrich Brussow returns to the starting line-up after a lengthy absence due to a toe injury and replaces injured flanker Lappies Labuschagne.
Cheetahs flyhalf Johan Goosen suffered a concussion in the side’s defeat to the Crusaders over the weekend, and will be replaced by Elgar Watts.
In the positional changes Hennie Daniller moves from wing to fullback with Springbok playmaker Willie le Roux moving to the left wing.
Up front Springbok prop Trevor Nyakane is relegated to the bench after regular starter Caylib Oosthuizen was declared fit after a slight niggle.
Brussow’s inclusion comes as no surprise after he played the full 80 minutes last weekend for the Vodacom Cup side in their loss to Western Province in Cape Town.
“The idea was that he would only play for 40 to 50 minutes, but he looked really fit and put in a solid game,” Drotske said.
“We are glad to have him back in the thick of things, especially with Lappies out injured. He (Brussow) will be a key factor at the breakdown area this weekend.”
Watts’ inclusion comes as a precaution after Goosen sustained a hefty knock to the head against the Crusaders last week in Bloemfontein.
Goosen was taken off in the 15th minute of the game, leaving Watts to fulfil the flyhalf role, something he did with great gusto.
“Naturally you want someone in that sort of position that is 100 percent fit to play,” Drotske said.
“Elgar has done well whenever he came onto the field the last couple of weeks.
“He has not only kicked well at goal, but showed that his ball distribution to the rest of the backline is on par. We are confident that he will do well.”
Winger Raymond Rhule has also recovered from an ankle injury and is included on the replacement bench along with Riaan Smit as cover for Watts at flyhalf.
Cheetahs team: Hennie Daniller, Cornal Hendricks, Johann Sadie, Rayno Benjamin, Willie le Roux, Elgar Watts, Sarel Pretorius, Boom Prinsloo, Jean Cook, Heinrich Brussow, Francois Uys, Lodewyk de Jager, Maks van Dyk, Adriaan Strauss (captain), Caylib Oosthuizen.
Replacements: Ryno Barnes, Trevor Nyakane, Rossouw de Klerk, Andries Ferreira, Teboho Mohoje, Shaun Venter, Riaan Smit, Raymond Rhule. – Sapa