Coach Hawies Fourie has named 13 debutants in the Cheetahs’ match 23 for their opening Currie Cup game of the season against Griquas in Kimberley on Saturday.
The Cheetahs’ fielding 13 debutants in their derby against Griquas is due to positive Covid-19 cases in the camp, as well as several injuries.
None of the Cheetahs’ contracted loose forwards are available for what is their first match of the campaign.
Fourie has selected four locks in the starting XV, with Jean Droste and former Bok Jacques Potgieter at flank.
Gideon van Wyk will start the game at No 8, with Rynier Bernardo and Victor Sekekete playing at lock.
Aranos Coetzee, Wilmar Arnoldi and Cameron Dawson have been selected as the starting front row.
In the back division, Evardi Boshoff will make his debut at outside centre, with scrumhalf Tian Meyer starting on the wing.
Among the replacements, Reinier Viljoen, Lohan Potgieter, Mihlali Mosi, David Brits and Cohen Jasper will all make their official debuts for the Cheetahs.
Fourie said that with 13 debuts there is a lot of excitement in the camp, but they will have to find a balance on the field.
“We’ve got to find that balance with the excitement for the new guys and the execution of the plan,” he told OFM Sport.
“We trained well this week and I am positive that everything will come together on Saturday.
“There are 13 players that will be making their debut for the Cheetahs in the Currie Cup. Some of them have previously played for unions. Players like Jacques Potgieter and Jean Droste.
“A lot of guys that played in the Varsity Cup will get a taste of the Currie Cup, and then there are some of our U20 players like Reinier Viljoen and Ruan Potgieter.”
The match kicks off at 1pm on Saturday.
Toyota Cheetahs – 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Duncan Saal, 13 Evardi Boshoff*, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Tian Meyer, 10 Reinhardt Fortuin, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Gideon van Wyk*, 7 Jacques Potgieter*, 6 Jean Droste*, 5 Rynier Bernardo*, 4 Victor Sekekete, 3 Aranos Coetzee, 2 Wilmar Arnoldi, 1 Cameron Dawson.
Subs: 16 Janus Venter*, 17 Alulutho Tshakweni, 18 Hencus van Wyk*, 19 Reinier Viljoen*, 20 Lohan Potgieter*, 21 Mihlali Mosi*, 22 David Brits*, 23 Cohen Jasper*.
* Currie Cup debut
Photo: Cheetahs Rugby