Preview: Cheetahs vs Chiefs

After several poor results, the Cheetahs face another tough task against the defending champions in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

The hosts are in the midst of a disastrous run which has seen them winning just one out of their six previous matches and they are currently languishing at the bottom of the table. They recently returned from their Australasian tour where they impressed with their attacking style of play but still lost all four of their matches.

The Cheetahs, who had a bye last weekend, gave the Blues a real scare in the last match of their tour, two weeks ago, before running out of gas in the game's closing stages and suffered a 40-30 defeat.

They have several Springboks who can change the course of a game with a moment of brilliance but a player who caught the eye in that clash against the Blues is right wing Cornal Hendricks. The former Blitzbok scored one of the tries of the season in that game and if he receives the ball in space he could prove a handful for the Chiefs defenders.

Another player in the spotlight is flyhalf Johan Goosen, who has not had the best of tournaments so far. When on song, Goosen is among the best No 10s in the business but such performances have not been forthcoming in 2014.

The Chiefs showed why they are the champions when they fought back from a 31-15 defict to claim a deserved 34-34 draw with the Bulls in Pretoria last weekend.

That comeback has seen coach Dave Rennie make 10 changes to his match 23. As far as the starting XV is concerned, Michael Fitzgerald moves to blindside flank, with Sam Cane at openside and Liam Messam at No 8. Augustine Pulu is at scrumhalf, while Tim Nanai-Williams and Gareth Anscombe will start at wing and fullback respectively.

The Cheetahs have made three changes, with Trevor Nkayane starting at loosehead prop in the absence of the injured Coenie Oosthuizen, Jean Cook replacing the injured No 8 Phillip van der Walt, and Lappies Labuschagne at blindside flank.

Cheetahs – 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Ryno Benjamin, 11 Hennie Daniller, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Jean Cook, 7 Lappies Labuschagne, 6 Boom Prinsloo, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Maks van Dyk, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Subs: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Rossouw de Klerk, 19 Andries Ferreira, 20 Teboho Mohoje, 21 Shaun Venter, 22 Elgar Watts, 23 Howard Mnisi.

Chiefs – 15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Tim Nanai-WIlliams, 13 Andrew Horrell, 12 Tom Marshall, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden (c), 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Liam Messam, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Michael Fitzgerald, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Matt Symons, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Rhys Marshall, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Subs: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Jamie Mackintosh, 18 Josh Hohneck, 19 Liam Squire, 20Tanerau Latimer, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Anton Lienert-Brown, 23 Mils Muliaina.

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Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

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