Currie Cup

Captain Pienaar back as Cheetahs make several changes for Griquas clash

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Ruan Pienaar. (Photo by Johan Pretorius/Gallo Images)
Ruan Pienaar. (Photo by Johan Pretorius/Gallo Images)

Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie has made several changes to his team for Wednesday's Currie Cup clash against Griquas in Bloemfontein.

The Cheetahs remain rooted to the bottom of the standings after a 38-31 loss to the Sharks in Durban on Sunday.

Only five players - fullback Clayton Blommetjies, wingers Craig Barry and Malcolm Jaer, flank Andisa Ntsila and lock Victor Sekekete - were retained from the starting XV that lost at Kings Park.

The standout selection is the return of veteran captain Ruan Pienaar at scrumhalf. His halfback partner will be talented young flyhalf Reinhardt Fortuin.

There is also a new centre combination in David Brits and Siya Masuka.

Up front, there is an all-new front row in the form of Aranos Coetzee, Marnus van der Merwe and Cameron Dawson.

Jean Droste returns as the No 5 lock and Sekekete moves to the front of the lineout. Aidon Davis starts at No 8 and Junior Pokomela is at No 7 - with Ntsila at No 6.

"We've shown glimpses of what we can do and had too many soft moments to let teams in. The short turnaround is tough on the bodies but I think it is the same for everyone," Pienaar said.

"I don't think the log table justifies the way we've played this season. We've had a really tough start to the season with Covid and injuries and a few narrow losses. It could easily have gone differently and we might have been second or third on the log.

"We have a young group and a lot of new players. Things don't just happen overnight and we know that there is a process that we need to follow.We need to back the coaches and the management and what they expect of us and just do that better. It might take some time, but we'll get there.

"Griquas is a tough team and they’ve played some really good rugby. They've beaten some of the top teams in this season both home and away and we know that it’s a massive challenge.

"It is always a big battle against Griquas. They have a really good game plan and I think they've evolved a lot as a team since we last played them. They'll come here with confidence.

"We've got to be up for it. It's another derby against Griquas which is always exciting to watch.  We’ve prepared well and hopefully put up a positive performance."

Coach Fourie added: "We need to get rid of the soft moments and we have to focus for the full 80 minutes."

Wednesday’s clash at Free State Stadium kicks off at 16:45.

Teams:

Cheetahs

15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Craig Barry, 13 David Brits, 12 Siya Masuka, 11 Malcolm Jaer, 10 Reinhardt Fortuin, 9 Ruan Pienaar (captain), 8 Aidon Davis, 7 Junior Pokomela, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Jean Droste, 4 Victor Sekekete, 3 Aranos Coetzee, 2 Marnus van der Merwe, 1 Cameron Dawson

Substitutes:  16 Louis van der Westhuizen, 17 Alulutho Tshakweni, 18 Conraad van Vuuren, 19 Rynier Bernardo, 20 Reinier Viljoen, 21 Mihlali Mosi, 22 Tian Meyer, 23 Chris Smit

Griquas

15 Ashlon Davids, 14 Eduan Keyter, 13 Chris Hollis, 12 Johnathan Francke, 11 James Verity-Amm, 10 George Whitehead, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Ruan Steenkamp (captain), 7 Hanru Sirgel, 6 Gideon van der Merwe, 5 Stefan Willemse, 4 Adr2 Smith, 3 Erich de Jager, 2 Alandre van Rooyen, 1 Mox Mxoli

Substitutes from: 16 Janco Uys, 17 Andrew Beerwinkel, 18 Andries Schutte, 19 Johan Momsen, 20 Luyolo Dapula, 21 Raegan Oranje, 22 André Swarts, 23 Ederies Arendse, 24 Andrew Kuhn, 25 Cameron Lindsay, 26 Fiela Boshoff

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