Tian Meyer will replace the Cheetahs’ injured skipper and scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar in their team for Saturday’s Super Rugby Unlocked third-round encounter with the Lions in Johannesburg.
Former age-group international Junior Pokomela takes over as the Cheetahs captain.
Pienaar injury blow hits Cheetahs
Pienaar, the experienced former Springbok No 9, sustained a serious knee injury in the previous round. The Cheetahs will have to adapt to life without their leader whose arrival at the union preceded a noticeable improvement in results for the team in both Currie Cup and Pro14 rugby.
Pokomela, a former Junior Springbok, took over the captaincy last weekend after Pienaar limped off early in their win over the Bulls, and will now lead the side in their first away match of the revamped season. The Cheetahs are looking to build on an unbeaten start having opened their campaign with a runaway win over the Pumas.
Meyer gets a starting berth in the scrumhalf jersey in the only change to their run-on team while USA international Ruben de Haas is now set to make his competition debut off the bench. De Haas represented the USA at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Top of the log
Last weekend, the team of Hawies Fourie (coach) battled their way to a close-fought 19-17 win over the Vodacom Bulls and as a result of their second successive win, the Cheetahs are the current the log leaders with nine points.
Apart from Pienaar, several other players were not considered for selection due to injury – Wilmar Arnoldi (cheek bone), Reniel Hugo (knee), Aranos Coetzee (ankle), Rhyno Smith (quad), Duncan Saal (hamstring) and Dries Swanepoel (calf).
The Ellis Park encounter kicks off at 16:30 and will be televised live on the SuperSport Grandstand and Rugby channels.
Super Rugby Unlocked Bulls vs Cheetahs: Team
Starting XV: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Malcolm Jaer, 13 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Junior Pokomela (captain), 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Walt Steenkamp, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Reinach Venter, 1 Charles Marais. Replacements: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Boan Venter, 18 Erich de Jager, 19 JP du Preez, 20 Aidon Davis, 21 Chris Massyn, 22 Ruben de Haas, 23 William Small-Smith.
Match information – Lions vs Cheetahs
Date: Saturday, 24 October
Venue: Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant Referees: Aimee Barrett-Theron, Griffon Colby
Television Match Official: Willie Vos
TV: SuperSport Grandstand and Rugby