This one, I’m afraid, can only go one way.
The Cheetahs’ injury woes continue to mount and depth has never been a particularly strong suit for the central franchise anyway. They have been forced to pick a side so chock-full of journeyman that even Ryno Barnes will now be able to add Super 14 rugby to his CV. It’s a pretty sad indictment on poor old Skipper Badenhorst that he still can’t get a start, even with this lot!
The Blues are still theoretically in this one, of course and if they can rack up BIG bonus point wins here and in Joburg next week (a formality), they might just be in with a shout of fourth spot heading into the final week. They certainly won’t lack motivation for this fixture.
Ref: Marius Jonker (South Africa)
ARs: Mark Lawrence (South Africa), Cobus Wessels (South Africa)
TMO: Johann Meuwesen (South Africa)
Venue: Vodacom Park, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 15:00 SA time, 14:00 BST
Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Bjorn Basson, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Meyer Bosman (vice-captain), 11 Jongi Nokwe, 10 Naas Olivier, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Frans Viljoen, 7 Juan Smith (captain), 6 Hendro Scholtz, 5 Barend Pieterse, 4 Izak van der Westhuizen, 3 WP Nel, 2 Ryno Barnes, 1 Wian du Preez.
Replacements: 16 Skipper Badenhorst, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Waltie Vermeulen, 19 Phillip van der Walt, 20 Tertius Carse, 21 Riaan Viljoen, 22 Danwel Demas.
Blues: 15 Paul Williams, 14 Rene Ranger, 13 Isaia Toeava, 12 Benson Stanley, 11 Joe Rokocoko, 10 Stephen Brett, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Viliami Ma’afu, 7 Tom Chamberlain, 6 Jerome Kaino (captain), 5 Filo Paulo, 4 Kurtis Haiu, 3 John Afoa, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Tevita Mailau/ Keven Mealamu, 17 Charlie Faumuina, 18 Anthony Boric, 19 Peter Saili, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 Daniel Kirkpatrick, 22 Anthony Tuitavake.