Cape Town - Cheetahs coach Franco Smith says they will stick to their ball-in-hand approach when they host the Highlanders in a Super Rugby clash in Bloemfontein on Friday.
Last weekend’s 48-21 home loss to the Crusaders was the Cheetahs’ seventh of the season, compared to only two wins.
They are playing enterprising rugby, but leaking too many tries and on Friday will face a confident team coming off a nine-try 57-14 mauling of the Stormers.
But Smith is adamant that his approach will reap rewards in the long run.
“I still believe that the growth of this side is immense. To have a team play against the best every week is the only way to get better. We are a good team with ball in hand and we want to play best to our strengths,” Smith said after naming his team on Wednesday.
Smith made several changes to the team that lost to the Crusaders.
Up front, Carl Wegener moves to No 4 lock, with Francois Uys at No 5 and Armandt Koster providing cover on the bench.
Henco Venter starts at No 8 as Paul Schoeman takes the No 6 jersey, with Uzair Cassiem moving to the bench.
In the backline, Tian Meyer and Shaun Venter swap places at scrumhalf as Meyer runs out for his 50th Super Rugby match.
A fit-again Fred Zeilinga is also back at flyhalf in place of Niel Marais, who moves down to the bench, while William Small-Smith starts in midfield in place of the injured Nico Lee, who is out for an extended period with an ankle injury.
Friday’s clash is scheduled for 19:00.
15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 William Small-Smith, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Henco Venter, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Ox Nche
Substitutes: 16 Elandre Huggett,17 Charles Marais, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Armandt Koster, 20 Uzair Cassiem, 21 Niell Jordaan, 22 Shaun Venter, 23 Niel Marais
15 Matt Faddes, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Rob Thompson, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Marty Banks, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock (co-captain), 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Joe Wheeler, 3 Siosuia Halanukonuka, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown
Substitutes: 16 Ash Dixon (co-captain), 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Elliot Dixon, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Fletcher Smith, 23 Richard Buckman