Cheetahs shift Marais to midfield

Niel Marais (Gallo Images)
Niel Marais (Gallo Images)

Newport - Cheetahs coach Rory Duncan has named his side for their PRO14 encounter against Welsh side Dragons at Rodney Parade on Friday night (kick-off 21:35 SA time).

Duncan made a few changes to the team that beat Irish side Connacht 26-25 in Bloemfontein on March 3.

In the backline, William Small-Smith is back in action after injury and replaces Craig Barry at right wing, with the latter having returned to the Stormers after a loan agreement.

Niel Marais, who played flyhalf and kicked the winning penalty against Connacht, moves to inside centre to replace the injured Nico Lee.

Fred Zeilinga starts at flyhalf in Marais' place, meaning the Cheetahs go into the match with two regular No 10s playing alongside each other.

Tian Meyer also starts at scrumhalf, with Zee Mkhabela moving to the bench.

Up front, Oupa Mohoje takes the No 7 jersey, with Henco Venter providing cover on the bench.

New players on the Cheetahs bench include Carl Wegner, Clinton Swart and AJ Coertzen.

The Cheetahs, currently third in Conference A, are in need of adding to their recent win over Connacht in order to keep their final series challenge alive, while the Dragons will be eager to rebound from their recent loss to the Southern Kings.

This will be the Cheetahs’ first encounter with the Dragons.  

“We’ve matured a lot as a side and our focus will be on what we need to do. We have grown tremendously playing in European conditions,” said captain Francois Venter.  “The biggest lesson we’ve learned in PRO14 is to have control over the moment and to make a positive out of a negative on (the) field.”



15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Ashton Hewitt, 13 Sam Beard, 12 Connor Edwards, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Arwel Robson, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Lewis Evans, 7 Aaron Wainwright, 6 Harrison Keddie, 5 Cory Hill (captain), 4 Joe Davies, 3 Lloyd Fairbrother, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Sam Hobbs

Substitutes: 16 Ellis Shipp, 17 Gerard Ellis, 18 Dan Suter, 19 Max Williams, 20 Taine Basham, 21 Dan Babos, 22 Adam Warren, 23 Jared Rosser


15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 William Small-Smith, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 Niel Marais, 11 Sibahle Maxwane, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Justin Basson, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Ox Nche

Substitutes: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Erich de Jager, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Carl Wegner, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Zee Mkhabela, 22 Clinton Swart, 23 AJ Coertzen

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