Taylor Davies of Scarlets during the 2017 Guinness PRO14 game between the Cheetahs and Scarlets at Toyota Stadium, Free State on 2 December 2017.
JOHANNESBURG – The Cheetahs return to Pro 14 action after their summer break during December when they face Benetton Rugby in Treviso, Italy on Saturday.
Coach Rory Duncan has announced his team to take on Benetton at the Stadio Monigo in Treviso Italy. The match will be broadcasted live on SuperSport 1.
Benetton Rugby won both their festive fixtures against neighbours, Zebre but have not won three in a row in the Pro 14 since December 2012. The Cheetahs have lost just twice since round two, at home to Glasgow in October and away to Connacht in November. This is the two sides’ first meeting.
The Cheetahs will have to adapt from the South African summer to the winter temperatures in Italy and will have to take more of a physical approach in the cold and wet weather.
In changes to the team, Francois Venter is back at centre and will be taking over the reins after his impressive performance for the Springboks on the end-of-year tour.
Craig Barry moves to fullback, replacing Clayton Blommetjies who has been side-lined due to a cold.
William Small-Smith will be starting on right wing.
Springboks Oupa Mohoje (flanker) and Uzair Cassiem (No. 8) are both in the starting lineup. Cassiem will be making his Pro 14 debut. Rynier Bernardo and Junior Pokomela will be providing cover on the bench.
Tian Meyer is suffering from a groin injury, giving Zee Mkhabela the opportunity on the bench.
Niel Marais and AJ Coertzen will both be making their Guinness Pro 14 debuts when they set foot to field.
Cheetahs team: 15 Craig Barry, 14 William Small Smith, 13 Francois Venter (capt), 12 Nico Lee,
11 Makazola Mapimpi, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Reniel Hugo, Carl Wegner, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Torsten Van Jaarsveld, 1 Charles Marais. Replacements: 23 AJ Coertzen, 22 Neil Marais, 21 Zee Mkhabela, 20 Junior Pokomela, 19 Rynier Bernardo, 18 Tom Botha, 17 Ox Nche, 16 Jacques Du Toit.