Victor Sekekete will make his first Currie Cup start for the Cheetahs at flank in their opening match against the Vodacom Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday.
The defending champion Cheetahs will open their Currie Cup campaign against the Bulls on Saturday afternoon after a bye in the first round of the competition.
It will be the first time that the Free State side are in action since their win over Griquas in the final round of Super Rugby Unlocked on 21 November.
Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie has made just two changes to the starting lineup from that match, both in the pack.
Loose forward Aidon Davis will miss the game due to a calf injury and his place at blindside flank is taken by Sekekete, who makes his first Currie Cup start for the Cheetahs after joining the side from Griquas.
Meanwhile, Kutha Mchunu comes in as tighthead prop in place of Hencus van Wyk, who also misses Saturday’s contest with a hamstring injury.
Promising youngster George Cronje could be set to make his first appearance for the Cheetahs after being named on the bench. Cronje is one of two former Grey College pupils who were lured back to Bloemfontein from France.
The Cheetahs are currently fourth on the Currie Cup log with the points carried over from Super Rugby Unlocked and trail the table-topping Bulls by 10 points. They can, however, climb above Western Province if the Cape side loses to the Lions later on Saturday evening.
Cheetahs – 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Rhyno Smith, 13 Howard Mnisi, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Jeandre Rudolph, 7 Victor Sekekete, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Carl Wegner, 4 Ian Groenewald, 3 Kutha Mchunu, 2 Reinach Venter, 1 Boan Venter.
Subs: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Cameron Dawson, 18 Erich de Jager, 19 Chris Massyn, 20 George Cronje, 21 Ruben de Haas, 22 Reinhardt Fortuin, 23 William Small-Smith.
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images