The Toyota Cheetahs have surprised by naming the hooker, Marnus van der Merwe, at flank for Saturday night’s Guinness Pro14 derby against the Southern Kings in Bloemfontein.
Van der Merwe starts ahead of Gerhard Olivier who has been ruled out for six weeks with a knee injury. He also cracked the nod ahead of Jasper Wiese who is on the bench, and Niell Jordaan who will be playing for the Toyota Free State XV against the Sharks XV in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge.
The other change to the packs sees the Namibian international Aranos Coetzee starting at tighthead prop again. This is as Luan de Bruin, has been ruled out with a neck injury.
The only change to the backline sees Louis Fouché replacing Malcolm Jaer at fullback. This in its own comes as a big surprise as well as, seeing that Jaer is one of the leading attackers in the competition, while Fouché was somewhat out of his depth during the three-match tour of Ireland and Wales, when he donned the number 15 jersey.
On the bench, the coach, Franco Smith, has also made several changes and he has named a new prop pair. Boan Venter and Erich de Jager come in as cover for Charles Marais and Coetzee. Jaer has also been named on the bench, while Darren Adonis has cracked the nod ahead of Carel Jan Coetzee.
Meanwhile, the winger, Rabz Maxwane, is one try away from breaking the Pro14 record for the most amount of try in a single season.
Maxwane is currently tied with Tim Visser (formerly with Edinburgh, now with Harlequins) on 14 tries in a season.
The captain, Tian Meyer, told OFM Sport that they will try and help Maxwane achieve the record, however, the team comes first.
“If we adopt that point of view, they might just mark him in the game. We’ve got to focus on the team effort as we have done for the whole season.
“Hopefully we will be able to get Rabz across the try-line as many times as possible, but the team does come first.
“We do wish him all the best in scoring more and more tries, and I am sure that he will achieve that, but it is all about the team”
The Cheetahs have never lost to the Kings in the Pro14, and lead the head-to-head battle five-nil
Saturday’s derby between the Cheetahs and Kings at the Toyota Stadium kicks off at 17:30.
Toyota Cheetahs – 15 Louis Fouché, 14 Tian Meyer (captain), 13 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 12 Dries Swanepoel, 11 Rabz Maxwane, 10 Tian Meyer, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Henco Venter, 7 Abongile Nonkontwana, 6 Marnus van der Merwe, 5 JP du Preez, 4 Walt Steenkamp, 3 Aranos Coetzee, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Charles Marais.
Replacements – 16 Reinach Venter, 17 Boan Venter, 18 Erich de Jager, 19 Sintu Manjezi, 20 Jasper Wiese, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Malcolm Jaer, 22 Darren Adonis. – MORGAN PIEK