After two weeks of inactivity, the Cheetahs visit the Sharks in Durban for the weekend’s first Super Rugby Unlocked fixture. Round 5 of Super Rugby Unlocked gets underway on Friday night, and kicks off with a big one in Durban between the Sharks and the Cheetahs at Kings Park.
The two sides have two wins apiece in the early stages of the competition, but only the visitors are unbeaten going into the encounter.
The fixture marks a return to action for the men from the Free State, who enjoyed a bye in the previous round of matches, while their game against the Lions a week prior was postponed after several members of the Johannesburg franchise’s squad tested positive for COVID-19.
Two debutants have been named in the matchday 23 by Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie, who gave loose forward Jeandré Rudolph and lock Khutha Mchunu the opportunity to earn their first cap from the bench.
Another back-rower, Junior Pokomela skippers the side, while Bok loosie, Oupa Mohoje is back from a lengthy injury spell, and takes up a spot on the bench.
There is another first, this time in the Sharks camp, with flanker Henco Venter taking over the armband from Rugby World Cup winner Lukhanyo Am, who sits out the encounter.
Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Malcolm Jaer, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Tian Meyer; 8 Aidon Davis, 7 Junior Pokomela (C), 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 JP du Preez, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Reinach Venter, 1 Charles Marais. Replacements: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Boan Venter, 18 Khutha Mchunu, 19 Oupa Mohoje, 20 Jeandré Rudolph, 21 Ruben de Haas, 22 Reinhardt Fortuin, 23 Chris Smit.
Sharks: Manie Libbok, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Jeremy Ward, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Madosh Tambwe, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Sanele Nohamba; 8 Phepsi Buthelezi, 7 Henco Venter (c), 6 Dylan Richardson, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 JJ van der Mescht, 3 John-Hubert Meyer, 2 Dan Jooste, 1 Ox Nche. Replacements: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 Michael Kumbirai, 19 Ruben van Heerden, 20 Thembelani Bholi, 21 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 22 Grant Williams, 23 Werner Kok.
The fixture kicks off at 18:55 (SAST), and will stream live on Supersport Grandstand (Channel 201).