The Toyota Cheetahs are highly-motivated to get their first victory of the season when they face Edinburgh at Murrayfield on Friday in their round six Guinness PRO14 match.
“It’s a great honour for the team to play at Murrayfield. Murrayfield is an icon in world rugby with lots of history and tradition.” Said Coach Franco Smith.
“We’ve made changes to team due to Gerhard Olivier’s return back home and Ryno Eksteen’s injury. We are glad to have Abongile Nonkontwana who joined the team on tour. He joined the Toyota Cheetahs earlier this year without a contract but proofed himself worthy by working himself up through the SuperSport Rugby Challenge and Currie Cup. It proofs again that Free State Rugby is a breeding ground of opportunity and that we will always keep on producing talent.”
“Changes to the starting line-up with Justin Basson and Jacques du Toit bring new excitement and energy to the team, the same with Stephan Malan.”
Changes to the team from last week:
· Hookers, Joseph Dweba and Jacques du Toit switch places with Du Toit in the starting line-up
· Walt Steenkamp and Justin Basson switch places with Steenkamp providing cover on the bench.
· Neill Jordaan moves to flank, replacing Gerhard Olivier who returned home for the birth of his first born. Niell Jordaan will be representing the Toyota Cheetahs in his 50th match.
· Stephan Malan will be starting on No. 8.
· Louis Fouche replaces Ryno Eksteen on fullback. Eksteen has been side-lined due to a knee injury.
· Abongile Nonkontwana will be making his Guinness PRO14 debut when he sets foot to field.
· Ali Mgijima is new to the bench.
“I’m very proud of Niell Jordaan who will be playing in his 50th game for the Toyota Cheetahs. I brought him from Vasity Cup and through the rank. It is wonderful to see him achieving this special milestone.”
“Edinburgh is a well-coached team with a lot of international and South African players in their squad. They are very competitive and it will especially be a challenge to play them at home.”
The two sides have only met once before with the Toyota Cheetahs defeating Edinburgh 33-13 in Bloemfontein last season.
The following players are not eligible for team selection due to injury:
Quintin Vorster (ankle), Ntokosa Vidima (wrist), Dries Swanepoel (shoulder), Erich de Jager (bicep), Oupa Mohoje (knee), Luan de Bruin (ankle), Aiden Davis (laceration), Jasper Wiese (shoulder), Lloyd Greeff (ankle), Sibabalo Qoma (ankle), Ernst Stapelberg (concussion), Malcolm Jaer (lower back sprain), Ryno Eksteen (knee).
The team will be returning home on Saturday and arrive on Bloemfontein on Sunday afternoon. The next match is scheduled for Saturday, 27 October against Cardiff Blues in Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein.
1 OX Nce 27 (71)
2 Jacques Du Toit 23 (51)
3 Aranos Coetzee 27 (59)
4 Justin Basson 17 (35)
5 JP du Preez 5 (6)
6 Neil Jordaan 5 (49)
7 Junior Pokamela 16 (24)
8 Stephan Malan 2 (5)
9 Tian Meyer 21 (61)
10 Tian Schoeman 5 (6)
11 Rabz Maxwane 13 (15)
12 Nico Lee 18 (43)
13 Benhard van Rensburg 5 (6)
14 William Small Smith 20 (48)
15 Louis Fouche 2 (6)
16 Joseph Dweba 6 (23)
17 Charles Marais 25 (69)
18 Günther Janse van Vuuren 2 (6)
19 Walt Steenkamp 5 (5)
20 Daniel Maartens 3 (10)
21 Abongile Nonkontwana 0 (4)
22 Shaun Venter 21 (82)
23 Alli Mgijima 1 (12)
· Guinness PRO14 caps and Toyota Cheetahs caps indicated next the player’s name. Toyota Cheetah caps in brackets.
The referee for the match is Marius Mitrea (FIR, 81st competition game). He will be assisted by Joy Manuel Bottino (FIR) and Ian Kenny (SRU). The TMO is Andrew McMenemy (SRU).