Bloemfontein - Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské has emphasised the importance of bonus points in this year's ABSA Currie Cup competition.The Free Staters face the Leopards in their first Currie Cup clash of the season on Saturday at the Free State stadium.
The Cheetahs have also lost the core of their team to either the Springboks or their Super Rugby allies, Griquas, and will be foolish to underestimate the less favoured Leopards.
However, coach Naka Drotské nonetheless said his players should go hunting for bonus points from the word go.
"We'd like to get a good start to the season and it's always very important to win your home games," Drotske said.
"But we're also backing our attacking structures and would like to chase a bonus point for scoring four tries.
"Any team can surprise, but we'll be putting pressure on ourselves to do well."
The Leopards have a few surprise packages in their team and new coach Leon Boshoff will hope the "unknown" men in his squad will rise to the occasion.
"As is the case in every season, a few injuries will damage our cause, but that does not mean we won't be competitive," said Boshoff.
"On the contrary, I am confident that this group of players will use the opportunity they have to compete against the best in the country to make names for themselves."
Free State Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Riaan Smit, 13 Corne Uys, 12 Andries Strauss (captain), 11 Ryno Benjamin, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Tewis de Bruyn, 8 Boom Prinsloo, 7 Lappies Labuschagne, 6 Johan Wessels, 5 Waltie Vermeulen, 4 Francois Uys, 3 WP Nel, 2 Michael van Vuuren, 1 Marcel van der Merwe.
Substitutes: 16 PW van Vuuren, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Izak van der Westhuizen, 19 Pieter Myburgh, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Philip Snyman, 22 Philip Burger.