Free State Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské has continued with his ‘youth policy’ when he named a second South African Under-20 and national Sevens star, Wilton Pietersen, in the team for their Currie Cup crunch match against the Lions in Johannesburg on Friday.
He joins fellow SA junior star Robert Ebersohn as the only change to the starting XV. Pietersen takes over in the No.14 jersey from veteran Eddie Fredericks – who is stuck on 96 games for the Cheetahs and may have a battle on his hands to reach his century.
Rugby 365 reports that in the only other change to the matchday 22 Jacques-Louis Potgieter comes onto the bench as utility player in the spot vacated by Pietersen’s promotion.
Nico Breedt, who rejoined the Cheetahs recently after stints with the Sharks and in France, has been placed on standby to come onto the bench if lock Flip van der Merwe does not recover in time from his leg muscle injury.
Free State Cheetahs: 15 Bevin Fortuin, 14 Wilton Pietersen, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Fabian Juries, 10 Chris Rossouw, 9 Tewis de Bruyn, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Kabamba Floors, 6 Hendro Scholtz (captain), 5 Barend Pieterse, 4 David de Villiers, 3 Kobus Calldo, 2 Richard Strauss, 1 Wian du Preez.
Replacements: 16 Riaan Kruger, 17 Phillip Lemmer, 18 Flip van der Merwe/Nico Breedt, 19 Schalk van der Merwe, 20 Neil Powell, 21 JW Jonker, 22 Jacques-Louis Potgieter.
Date: Friday, August 22
Venue: Coca-Cola Park, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 19.10 (17.10 GMT)
Referee: Marius Jonker
Touch judges: Francois Veldsman, Peet Badenhorst
TMO: Michael Cupido