Nico Lee will start at outside centre for the Cheetahs after captain Francois Venter was ruled out of Friday's match against Western Province at Newlands.
With Venter sitting out the match through injury, scrumhalf Tian Meyer will take over the captaincy.
In the pack, coach Franco Smith has opted for an all-new front row. Props Charles Marais and Johan Coetzee and hooker Jacques du Toit are elevated to the starting lineup with Ox Nche, Tom Botha and Torsten van Jaarsveld rotating to the bench.
Free State Cheetahs – 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Rayno Benjamin, 13 Nico Lee, 12 William Small-Smith, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 Charles Marais.
Subs: 16 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Justin Basson, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Shaun Venter, 22 Niel Marais, 23 Michael van der Spuy.
Photo: Michael Sheehan/Gallo Images