Currie Cup

Free State Cheetahs neam team to face Lions

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Free State Cheetahs Currie Cup coach Naka Drotske has named his team to play the Golden Lions on Friday.

Drotske made two injury forced changes to his side and they will have to make do without two key players, Philip van der Walt and lock Lood de Jager, who are both struggling with injuries and are not fit to play.

They have been replaced by Davon Raubenheimer and Waltie Vermeulen respectively, with Tertius Daniller coming in on the replacement bench.

Drotske admitted that losing two vital players ahead of the clash was not ideal.

“It’s never easy losing guys, especially Philip and Lood because of their vast experience, but the guys who come in are experienced in their own way and will certainly do their part,” Drotske said.

“We all know that Waltie is very good in the lineouts, while Davon has really improved over the last couple of weeks. He is a hard worker at practise and a player that can also play at Super Rugby level and we are confident he will be up for the challenge.”

With the competition entering the second round, consistency is key and therefore the coach opted to not tamper with the rest of his side.

Prop Trevor Nyakane, hooker Hercu Liebenberg and prop Rossouw de Klerk are still in the pound seats with regards to the scrums. And an attacking backline with old hands like scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius and centre Robert Ebersohn will also be vital against the visitors.

“The Lions have chosen a new front row altogether and we will definitely look to target them there,” Drotske said.

“They have CJ van der Linde who is very experienced, but Bees Roux hasn’t played all that much rugby the last couple of weeks. It will be interesting to see how he goes.”

The Cheetahs lost to the Blue Bulls last week in Pretoria, a game Drotske would rather forget, and have struggled to be consistent.

Against the Lions the Bloemfontein-based side gets a chance to rectify all that went wrong at Loftus Versfeld.

“This is the business end of the competition. Things are quite tight on the points log so the next few games, specially home games, are important,” he said.

“We have three of our five games in Bloemfontein so we can’t afford to slip up again. In my opinion we need to win all our home games and at least one away game if we are to progress to the knock-out stages.”

Free State Cheetahs

15. Daniller Hennie , 14. Smit Riaan , 13.Sadie Johann, 12. Ebersohn Robert ( vc ) , 11. Rhule Raymond , 10. Watts Elgar , 9. Pretorius Sarel , 8. Raubenheimer Davon , 7. Labuschagne Pieter , 6. Prinsloo Boom ( c ) , 5. Vermeulen Waltie, 4. Mohoje Teboho , 3. De Klerk Rossouw, 2 .Liebenberg Hercu , 1. Nyakane Trevor

Replacements: 16 Reynecke Ethienne, 17. Du Preez Wian 18. Ngoza Freddy 19., 18 .Daniller Tertius 20. Luiters Kevin 21. Du Plessis Willie 22. Lindeque Piet

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