Kabamba Floors will celebrate his 50th appearance for the Cheetahs by returning to the starting line-up when the Currie Cup champions play the Falcons here on Friday night.
Pieter Jordaan writes in Volksblad that the bustling Springbok loose forward, one of the most popular players in the Free State, has not been in a run-on team in Super 14 and Currie Cup rugby this season.
However, with Cheetahs captain Hendro Scholtz injured, Floors has an opportunity to start a match and at the same time reach the milestone of 50 matches. He will certainly be eager to make it a night to remember.
“Everyone knows the talent and skills Kabamba has,” Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské said on Thursday.
“There are few flankers who can run around an outside centre the way he did against the Sharks last week,” Drotské said, referring to the way the 27-year-old Floors had beaten Waylon Murray in the build-up to Fabian Juries’s try.
“I’ve always said he will play if his attitude is right, on and off the field,” the coach said.
The Cheetahs have, in addition to Scholtz, outstanding loose forwards such as Springbok star Juan Smith, Heinrich Brüssow and Duane Vermeulen.
With Floors back in the team, the Cheetahs will not have as many lineout options as they normally have.
Drotské feels the lock forwards, Barend Pieterse and David de Villiers, will have to continue their fine lineout performance of last week.
“To win against teams such as the Falcons, Griquas and Boland, you must disrupt them in the tight phases and do well in the set pieces.”
The return of new Springbok hooker Adriaan Strauss and Vermeulen, who will be among the substitutes after recovering from a neck injury, would be a boost, he added.
Vermeulen, who is likely to be given a run in the second half, is eager to return to action.
Backline coach Hawies Fourie has indicated that 19-year-old Wilton Pietersen will be used as an impact player if the situation allows for it.
Pietersen, one of the substitutes, could make his debut for the Cheetahs on Friday night.
Cheetahs: 15 Bevin Fortuin, 14 Eddie Fredericks, 13 JW Jonker, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Jongi Nokwe, 10 Chris Rossouw, 9 Tewis de Bruyn, 8 Schalk van der Merwe, 7 Kabamba Floors, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Barend Pieterse (captain), 4 David de Villiers, 3 Kobus Calldo, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Wian du Preez.
Replacements: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 Phillip Lemmer, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Duanne Vermeulen, 20 Neil Powell, 21 Wilton Pietersen, 22 Fabian Juries