Durban — Key Cheetahs forward Gideon van der Merwe has been passed fit to resume in his No 6 jersey for Saturday’s Currie Cup semi-final against the Pumas in Bloemfontein (2pm).
Van der Merwe’s tenacious work at the breakdown will be invaluable against the feisty men from Nelspruit. Andisa Ntsila will provide loose forward cover on the bench.
In a big boost for the Cheetahs, flyhalf Reinhardt Fortuin returns from injury and could play an important role off the bench.
“We want to be disciplined tomorrow and the team will be focused on that,” said veteran captain Ruan Pienaar. “We are all excited. You don’t always get the opportunity to play in a Currie Cup semi-final. It is a big game for both teams. I’m sure it will be a great game.”
“We have a lot of players getting their first experience of Currie Cup semi-final and I think we just want to stick to our DNA and the way we play. Just do everything five or ten percent better than what we’ve done throughout the season. Hopefully, it will be enough to take us through to next week and a home final.”
“I think both teams are excited to be part of the semi-final. It’s a special day to be part of.”
“The Currie Cup is a prestigious tournament,” Pienaar added. “We take it really seriously so hopefully, we can make the supporters proud and the staff who have put in a big shift to make this happen.”
Cheetahs – 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Daniel Kasende, 13 David Brits, 12 Chris Smit, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Siya Masuku, 9 Ruan Pienaar (c), 8 Jeandre Rudolph, 7 Aidon Davis, 6 Gideon van der Merwe, 5 Victor Sekekete, 4 Rynier Bernardo, 3 Aranos Coetzee, 2 Louis van der Westhuizen, 1 Cameron Dawson.
Subs: 16 Marnus van der Merwe, 17 Alulutho Tshakweni, 18 Marne Coetzee, 19 Ockie Barnard, 20 Andisa Ntsila, 21 Mihlali Mosi, 22 Reinhardt Fortuin, 23 Robert Ebersohn.
Pumas – 15 Devon Williams, 14 Tapiwa Mafura, 13 Sebastian de Klerk, 12 Eddie Fouche, 11 Jade Stighling, 10 Tinus de Beer, 9 Chriswill September, 8 Andre Fouche, 7 Willie Engelbrecht (c), 6 Daniel Maartens, 5 Shane Kirkwood, 4 Deon Slabbert, 3 Ignatius Prinsloo, 2 Eduan Swart, 1 Corne Fourie.
Subs: 16 Llewellyn Classen, 17 Dewald Maritz, 18 Simon Raw, 19 Kwanda Dimaza, 20 Francois Kleinhans, 21 Giovan Snyman, 22 Ali Mgijima, 23 Alwayno Visagie.