Shimlas flyhalf Niel Marais will start for the Cheetahs against the Waratahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
New Cheetahs coach Franco Smith, who guided Shimlas to this year's Varsity Cup title, has backed Marais in one of several changes to the team that lost to the Stormers.
Marais comes in for the Sharks-bound Joe Pietersen, who has been relegated to the bench, Sarel Pretorius is back in the No 9 jersey, Rayno Benjamin is preferred to Michael van der Spuy at inside centre, Cornal Hendricks replaces the injured Raymond Rhule on the left wing, and Coenie van Wyk starts at fullback ahead of Clayton Blommetjies.
Among the pack, BG Uys will start at loosehead prop, Tienie Burger and Boom Prinsloo swap places on the side of the scrum, and Niell Jordaan will make his Vodacom Super Rugby debut at No 8.
Elandré Hugget, Gerhard Olivier and Shaun Venter all come onto the bench.
Cheetahs – 15 Coenie van Wyk, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Rayno Benjamin, 11 Cornal Hendricks, 10 Niel Marais, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Tienie Burger, 6 Boom Prinsloo, 5 Francois Uys (c), 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Maks van Dyk, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 BG Uys.
Subs: 16 Elandré Huggett, 17 Danie Mienie, 18 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 19 Seven Sykes, 20 Gerhard Olivier, 21 Henco Venter, 22 Shaun Venter, 23 Joe Pietersen.
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images