Former Vodcom Bulls midfielder JP Nel will partner Robert Ebersohn for the Cheetahs’ first Vodacom Super Rugby pre-season warm-up game against the Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday. Nel joined Griquas after a two-year stint in Japan and will get his first taste of Super Rugby since his last outing for the Bulls in the 2009 season.
Regular Cheetahs captain Adriaan Strauss is still rested after a packed 2012 season, and Ebersohn will take over the captaincy.
Locks Martin Muller (groin) and Andries Ferreira (knee) as well as flanker Heinrich Brussow (shoulder) is still injured.
Francois Uys will partner Lodewyk de Jager to form the Cheetahs tight five, which is bolstered by former Bulls prop Rossouw de Klerk, former Pumas player Torsten van Jaarsveld and former MTN Lions player Caylib Oosthuizen in the front row.
In the backline, coach Naka Drotske included most stars of last year’s Currie Cup, with pace winger Raymond Rhule and Hennie Daniller (fullback) the most notable. Francois Brummer, who joined Griquas from the Bulls in 2012, gets his first run at fly half.
The Cheetahs team: Hennie Daniller, Jannie Boshoff, JP Nel, Robert Ebersohn (captain), Raymond Rhule, Francois Brummer, Piet van Zyl, Boom Prinsloo, Tertius Daniller, Marnus Schoeman, Francois Uys, Lodewyk de Jager, Rossouw de Klerk, Torsten van Jaarsveld, Caylib Oosthuizen.
Replacements: Hercu Liebenberg, Trevor Nyakane, Ligtoring Landman, Waltie Vermeulen, Tewis de Bruyn, Barry Geel, Hansie Graaff.