Veteran scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar will lead out the Cheetahs when they begin their PRO14 campaign against the Glasgow Warriors on Friday night.
The recently crowned Currie Cup champions will be looking to continue their winning momentum when they host last season’s finalists at the Toyota Stadium.
The men from Bloemfontein will hope to make use of their home-field advantage against the Warriors, who they are yet to beat in four previous attempts in the competition.
Interim coach Franco Smith – who is set to join the Italian national side after the World Cup – has tasked his team with continuing the momentum generated during their victorious Currie Cup run by starting well in their first home game.
‘We’ve done well in the Currie Cup and enjoyed the moment but the mentality among the players is that we still have to keep working hard,’ said Smith.
‘Glasgow Warriors are very task driven. We have to keep the momentum and we will be well prepared for this competition. We are not underestimating what is coming.’
Justin Basson (knee), Ali Mgijima (achilles), Marnus van der Merwe (foot), Charles Marais (bicep) and Clayton Blommetjies (ankle) were not eligible for selection due to injury.
Ruben de Haas and Aranos Coetzee also miss out due to World Cup commitments with the USA and Namibia, respectively, while Darren Adonis has joined the Blitzboks.
Kick-off is at 7pm.
Cheetahs – 15 Rhyno Smith, 14 William Small-Smith, 13 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 12 Dries Swanepoel, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Ruan Pienaar (c), 8 Henco Venter, 7 Junior Pokomela, 6 Gerhard Olivier, 5 Walt Steenkamp, 4 Sintu Manjezi, 3 Erich de Jager, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Ox Nche.
Subs: 16 Reinach Venter, 17 Boan Venter, 18 Luan de Bruin, 19 JP du Preez, 20 Sias Koen, 21 Jasper Wiese, 22 Tian Meyer, 23 Louis Fouche.
Picture: Christiaan Kotze/BackpagePix