Sharks old boy Andries Strauss will become the fourth Cheetahs captain in as many matches as he leads the central team out against the Lions this weekend. Coach Naka Drotske has dropped flyhalf Naas Olivier after an unimpressive showing, both as playmaker and captain against the Stormers last week.
Strauss, who was a regular Vodacom Cup and sometimes Currie Cup captain during his time in Durban, is a hugely experienced player with strong communication skills and strong leadership capabilities and is sure to be the man to lead the Cheetahs to their opening win of the campaign. Whatever the case, at the end of the weekend there will (barring a draw) be only one South African team with no wins after four starts!
In other changes to the side, the big boot of Riaan Viljoen replaces the big boot of Hennie Daniller at fullback, while Sias Ebersohn takes over at number 10. Both flanks have also been changed, with Philip van der Walt and Frans Viljoen joining Ashley Johnson in a powerful loose trio.
Olivier will join Philip Burger on the bench, where along with Kabamba Floors and others, they’ll attempt to add some much-needed second half impetus.
Cheetahs – 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Philip Snyman, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Andries Strauss (captain), 11 Rayno Benjamin, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Ashley Johnson, 7 Philip van der Walt, 6 Frans Viljoen, 5 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 4 Martin Muller, 3 WP Nel, 2 Ryno Barnes, 1 Coenie Oosthuizen.
Subs: 16 Skipper Badenhorst, 17 Lourens Adriaanse, 18 Francois Uys, 19 Kabamba Floors, 20 Tewis de Bruyn, 21 Naas Olivier, 22 Philip Burger.