De Haas to make his return against the Pumas

Ruben de Haas . PHOTO: Morgan Piek

The Toyota Cheetahs have named a new-look team for the SA Cup third round game against the Pumas in Bloemfontein on Friday night.

With the Cheetahs first choice players in France of their EPCR Challenge Cup game against Clermont, the Currie Cup champions were forced to pick team consisting of fringe and under-21 players.

While it will be an uphill battle for the Cheetahs against the Pumas, a big feather in the cap of the union is the fact that 14 of the 23 players come out of their academy.

The former Shimlas captain, Thabang Mahlasi, will lead the team onto the park in what is just his second game for the franchise.

Mahlasi told OFM Sport that it’s a big opportunity to lead his team onto the field.

“I’m going to grab this opportunity and make the most of it,” said Mahlasi.

“With time, this thing will happen, and sooner or later, I will also be on a flight, but now we focus on our task, playing against the Pumas on Friday.

“I feel like we have a strong leadership group comprising S’bu Nkosi and James Verity-Amm, who are well experienced. I think they will help us, especially when guiding the young guys who recently joined us. I really think that experience will come in handy.”

While there are a lot of debutants such as Marco Janse van Vuren and Sisonke Vumazonke, the really good news is that the USA international scrumhalf, Ruben de Haas, will be making his return from a long-term knee injury. De Haas injured his knee last year against the Western Force in the Toyota Challenge.

Friday night’s game at the Toyota Stadium kicks off at 18:00.

Cheetahs – 15 Banie Britz, 14 S’bu Nkosi, 13 Gert Steyn, 12 Luke Carew, 11 Rhetabile Mzamo, 10 James Verity-Amm, 9 Marco Janse van Vuren, 8 Sisonke Vumazonke, 7 Ulrich Stander, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Thabang Mahlasi (captain), 4 Arno van der Merwe, 3 Justin Forwood, 2 Vernon Paulo, 1 Cameron Dawson

Replacements – 16 Nick Greyling, 17 Kevin Stevens, 19 Marco Conradie, 20 AJ Burger, 21 Niel Venter, 22 Christiaan van der Westhuizen, 22 Ruben de Haas, 23 Marcey de Waal

Morgan Piek