Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske has named his side to face the Bulls in Bloemfontein on Friday. Bok tourists Riaan Viljoen and Ashley Johnson will make their Supr 14 debuts at fullback and eighthman respectively.
The bulk of the pack that played so well in the Currie Cup has been retained, with Bok loosehead Wian du Preez back at loosehead after an off-season stint with Munster. Bok flankers Heinrich Brussow and Juan Smith will continue their partnership, while Johnson will be keen to show that he can repeat some of the destructive ball-carrying he did in the Currie Cup last year.
A number of players initially in danger of missing the fixture have been passed fit, with Naas Olivier at flyhalf perhaps the most significant. Olivier and Viljoen are the only Griquas representatives in an otherwise settled-looking Free State backlike, featuring the experienced pair of Meyer Bosman and Corne Uys in the centres.
Former Valke hooker Ryno Barnes, now with Griquas, has been included on the bench.
Cheetahs – 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Lionel Mapoe, 13 Corné Uys, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Jongi Nokwe, 10 Naas Olivier, 9 Tewis de Bruyn, 8 Ashley Johnson, 7 Juan Smith (capt), 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 David de Villiers, 4 Nico Breedt, 3 WP Nel, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Wian du Preez.
Subs: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Walti Vermeulen, 19 Frans Viljoen, 20 Sarel Pretorius, 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 Danwel Demas.