The Cheetahs are nearly at full strength for their Currie Cup semifinal against the Blue Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday.
Pieter Jordaan writes in Volksblad that Jacques-Louis Potgieter and David de Villiers, whose fitness had been in doubt, were both included in the starting lineup when coach Naka Drotské announced his team here on Tuesday.
Flyhalf Potgieter, who had nursed a hand injury, showed no discomfort when the defending champions trained on Tuesday.
Lineout specialist De Villiers did not practise, however. The tall lock forward will be given until the end of the week to shake off his ankle injury.
“We’ll do more medical tests on Friday, but David is recovering well,” Drostké said.
Fears that De Villiers had torn ligaments have been allayed. However, Flip van der Merwe will travel with the team to Pretoria in case De Villiers is not ready.
On the bench
Nico Breedt, who performed well after replacing De Villiers in the first half of the match against Boland last week, can be promoted to partner Barend Pieterse in the starting lineup if De Villiers is unavailable. Van der Merwe will then be on the bench.
The champions have had a number of injury troubles during recent weeks but have, at last, almost their strongest side to take on the Bulls.
Drotské, chasing his second consecutive Currie Cup title as Free State coach, was happy about the players he had at his disposal when he finalised his squad on Tuesday.
Fabian Juries has recovered from his injury problems and has been training with the squad. He will also travel to Pretoria as a precautionary measure.
The Cheetahs lost Juries and Wilton Pietersen, two of their best attacking players, earlier in the season.
Heinrich Brüssow has been included as fetcher flank for the make-or-break match. Springbok Hendro Scholtz is among the substitutes.
Most of the players in the Cheetahs’ squad have experience of Currie Cup playoffs. This, and their underdog status, could be to their advantage on Saturday.
However, when the others were winning the trophy last year, centre Robert Ebersohn and prop forward Coenie Oosthuizen were still at school.
The Cheetahs team: Bevin Fortuin, JW Jonker, Robert Ebersohn, Meyer Bosman, Jongi Nokwe, Jacques-Louis Potgieter, Tewis de Bruyn, Duane Vermeulen, Juan Smith (capt), Heinrich Brüssow, Barend Pieterse, David de Villiers, Kobus Calldo, Adriaan Strauss, Wian du Preez.
Substitutes: Richardt Strauss, Coenie Oosthuizen, Nico Breedt, Hendro Scholtz, Jandré Blom, Hennie Daniller and Kabamba Floors.Tweet