Cheetahs pick their best
Bloemfontein - Free State Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske has chosen his strongest available side for their crucial Currie Cup promotion/relegation playoff against the EP Kings in Bloemfontein on Friday.
The Bloemfontein-based side play host for the first of two playoff games to decide whether they will remain in the premier division or be relegated to the first division.
The Cheetahs had one of their most successful Super Rugby seasons this year, but they have struggled to reproduce the same form in the Currie Cup.
Winning only three of their 10 encounters, relegation beckons if the Free State side cannot produce the goods against the Kings.
The hosts will need to make do without one of their stalwarts, prop Coenie Oosthuizen, who picked up a lower back injury in the Free State side's loss to Western Province last week.
"It is regretable that Coenie isn't available," Drotske said on Wednesday.
"His loss is a big one, especially for the Springboks and the end-of-year tour.
"We would have looked to him to give the scrums substance, but now he is unavailable.
"We have to face problems like these and keep looking forward."
15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Nico Scheepers, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Phillip van der Walt, 7 Lappies Labuschange, 6 Hendro Scholtz, 5 Izak van der Merwe, 4 Francois Uys, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Marcel van der Merwe
Substitutes: 16 Hercu Liebenberg, 17 Schalk van der Merwe, 18 Carl Wegner, 19 Davon Ruabenheimer, 20 Tewis du Bruyn, 21 Phillip Snyman, 22 Rayno Benjamin
15 SP Marais, 14 Paul Perez, 13 Wayne Stevens (captain), 12 Shane Gates, 11 Marcello Sampson, 10 Wesley Dunlop, 9 Falie Oelschig, 8 Cornell Du Preez, 7 Wimpie van der Walt, 6 Devin Oosthuizen, 5 David Bullbring, 4 Reynier Bernardo, 3 Clint Newland, 2 Hannes Franklin, 1 Jaco Engels.
Substitutes: 16 Frank Herne, 17 Andre Schlechter, 18 Wayne van Heerden, 19 Mpho Mbiyozo, 20 Scott Mathie, 21 George Whitehead, 22 Michael Killian