Cheetahs sweating on Steyn for Stormers
Lock Ian Groenewald will make his debut for the Cheetahs in what is likely to be a baptism of fire when they take on the Stormers in their Super Rugby Unlocked match at Newlands on Saturday.
Groenewald is in the team at the front of the lineout‚ while Carl Wegner moves to the middle at the expense of Jean-Pierre du Preez who drops to the bench.
It is at the front of the line-out where green horn Groenewald will have to contend with Salmaan Moerat who will be returning to the Stormers’ starting line-up.
Elsewhere in the pack No.8 Jeandre Rudolph replaces Aidon Davis who is relegated to the bench.
The Cheetahs are also sweating on the availability of inside centre Frans Steyn who missed last week’s trip to Durban with a groin injury. They will be desperate to have the inform player back as territory is likely to be a much disputed battleground at Newlands.
Steyn’s ability to eke out metres with the boot will give the Cheetahs an advantage in that area should he get the nod to play.
Steyn’s neat distribution has also been a feature of his play in this competition and it has helped players like Malcolm Jaer and Clayton Blommetjies have time and space in which to operate. Jaer has made the most clean breaks in the competition‚ while Blommetjies has made the third-most carries.
As things stand Steyn’s name on the team sheet is listed alongside that of Chris Smit.
The latter will step in should Steyn not make the plane to Cape Town. Steyn‚ however‚ trained on Thursday morning and is expected to play‚ which will be the only change to the Cheetahs’ backline.
Wilmar Arnoldi (cheekbone)‚ Reniel Hugo (knee)‚ Aranos Coetzee (ankle)‚ Duncan Saal (hamstring)‚ Ruan Pienaar (knee) and Craig Barry (knee) were not considered because of various ailments.
Cheetahs team to play the Stormers - Clayton Blommetjies; Malcolm Jaer‚ William Small-Smith‚ Frans Steyn/Chris Smit‚ Rosko Specman; Tian Schoeman‚ Tian Meyer; Jeandré Rudolph‚ Junior Pokomela (captain)‚ Andisa Ntsila; Carl Wegner‚ Ian Groenewald; Luan de Bruin‚ Reinach Venter‚ Charles Marais. Substitutes: Boan Venter‚ Marnus van der Merwe‚ Khutha Mchunu‚ JP du Preez‚ Aidon Davis; Ruben de Haas‚ Reinhardt Fortuin‚ Chris Smit/Howard Mnisi.