Double Rugby World Cup winner Frans Steyn will make his debut for the Cheetahs on Saturday when they host the Pumas in the opening round of Super Rugby Unlocked in Bloemfontein.
Kick-off at the closed Toyota Stadium will be at 16:30 on Saturday 10 October.
Steyn, the youngest member of the RWC squad in 2007 and one of the experienced members of the squad in Japan last year, recently returned to Bloemfontein, where he matriculated from Grey College, after a stint at Montpellier in France. Steyn has never represented the Free State in senior rugby having been snapped up by the Sharks straight out of school.
The Cheetahs will be led by another 2007 RWC winner in Ruan Pienaar while former Blitzbok hotstepper, Rosko Specman, is also back in Bloemfontein following a stint in Pretoria.
“It’s great to have Frans here in Bloemfontein – I’ve played a lot of rugby with him earlier in my career and he brings a lot of experience and knowledge to our team,” said Pienaar.
“Although he’s one of the older guys in the team, he has a young heart – the players connect very well with him and it’s great to have someone of his calibre here.”
Andisa Ntsila has been named to start at flank after joining the Cheetahs from the Sharks. The loose forward first made his mark for the Southern Kings but has not enjoyed as many opportunities as he might have liked after the recruitments of James Venter and Sikhumbuzo Notshe in Durban. Ntsila forms an exciting loose trio with Jasper Wiese (No 8) and Junior Pokomela (flank).
Specman, Steyn, Pokomela and Luan de Bruin all featured in last weekend’s Springbok Showdown at Newlands in Cape Town.
Malcolm Jaer has recovered from the injury that prevented him from taking part in the Green vs Gold match in the Mother City and takes his place on the wing.
Cheetahs matchday squad – Super Rugby Unlocked vs Pumas
Toyota Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Malcolm Jaer, 13 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Ruan Pienaar (captain), 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Junior Pokomela, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Walt Steenkamp, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Reinach Venter, 1 Charles Marais.
Replacements: 16 Louis van der Westhuizen, 17 Boan Venter, 18 Erich de Jager, 19 JP du Preez, 20 Chris Massyn, 21 Aidon Davis, 22 Tian Meyer, 23 William Small-Smith.