FS Cheetahs and Blue Bulls change one for final


Franco Smith has made just one change to the Toyota Free State Cheetahs starting XV for Saturday’s big Currie Cup Final against the Blue Bulls.

The loosehead prop, Ox Nche, moves to the bench for the match while Charles Marais will be starting in the front row.

The rest of the match 23 has remained unchanged for the championship match in Bloemfontein.

The Cheetahs captain, Francois Venter, down played the favourites tag and said that they cannot wait for the match to get underway.

“I don’t know about being the favourites because in a final everything is equal and anything can happen in a final,” said Venter.

“The excitement in there and it feels as if the week is going by too slowly, we just want Saturday to come and to get onto the field.

“We’ve been preparing for a while now and that’s why we play rugby… to play in big games.”

The Blue Bulls their turn have also made just one change to their side with the lock Jason Jenkins replacing RG Snyman in the starting XV.

Snyman hasn’t passed the concussion protocol, ruling him out for the clash.

Jenkins’ place on the bench will be taken by Nic de Jager.

Ulrich Beyers also recovered in time from his shoulder knock and has been declared fit to start at fullback.

The Bulls coach, Nollis Marais, in his turn said that they just want to approach the final like any other game.

“It’s just another game for us, obviously it’s a big game but I think we only have one guy that has played in a Currie Cup final, only Bandise Maku has played in one before.

“We haven’t been in the final since 2009 so it’s just about taking the pressure off and playing.

“We’ve been doing that quite well over the past very games.”

The match is a sell out and it is the first time that the Toyota Stadium is a sellout since the 2010 FIFA Football World Cup.

Saturday’s Currie Cup final between the Toyota Free State Cheetahs and the Blue Bulls at the Toyota Stadium kicks off at 16:00.

Free State Cheetahs – 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 Nico Lee, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Niel Marais, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Tier Schoeman, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Justin Basson, 3 Aranos Coetzee, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Charles Marais.

Replacements – 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Armandt Koster, 19 Henco Venter, 20 Tian Meyer, 21 Fred Zeilinga, 22 Rayno Benjamin, 23 Beertjie van Vuuren.

Blue Bulls – 15 Ulrich Beyers, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Arno Botha (captain), 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.

Replacements – 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Martin Dreyer, 18 Pierre Schoeman, 19 Nic de Jager, 20 Hanro Liebenberg, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Joshua Stander, 23 Bjorn Basson. – MORGAN PIEK