Coach Hawies Fourie backs Cheetahs’ winning combo to maul depleted Lions
JOHANNESBURG - Free State Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie has made one enforced change to his matchday 23 to face the Lions in their Super Rugby Unlocked third-round encounter on Saturday (kick off 4.30pm).
Tian Meyer comes into the starting XV at scrumhalf to replace Ruan Pienaar, who injured his knee in the team's brutal 19-17 victory over the Blue Bulls this past weekend and will be out until the end of season - while Junior Pokimela will take over the captaincy from the now sidelined Pienaar.
Onto the bench, as cover at No 9, Fourie has selected US Eagles international Ruben de Haas, who has been capped on 17 occasions at Test level.
Other than that, the Cheetahs will rely on the full complement of players that have done them the business this past fortnight.
The Bloemfontein-based side are currently in command of the standings, having won their first two encounters, while scoring nine tries in the process, and are now set to face a Lions team at Emirates Airlines Park potentially crippled by the loss of nine players due to Covid-19 precautions.
It was revealed earlier on Thursday that there will be at least nine changes to the Lions team that lost to the Stormers this past weekend as they enter a period of self-isolation for at least 10 days.
The Lions will announce their team to face the Cheetahs later on Thursday.
Clayton Blommetjies, Malcolm Jaer, Benhard Janse van Rensburg, Frans Steyn, Rosko Specman, Tian Schoeman, Tian Meyer, Jasper Wiese, Junior Pokomela (capt), Andisa Ntsila, Walt Steenkamp, Carl Wegner, Luan de Bruin, Reinach Venter, Charles Marais.
Replacements: Jacques du Toit, Boan Venter, Erich de Jager, JP du Preez, Aidon Davis, Chris Massyn, Ruben de Haas, William Small-Smith.