Bloemfontein - Free State Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské has called for a much better defensive effort from his side when they take on Western Province in a Currie Cup match at the Free State stadium on Friday afternoon.
"We have spoken to each and every one of the players," he said.
"The message was simple. They have to decide if they want to buy into our defensive structures and if they are going to pitch for the game mentally."
The Cheetahs are still in the running for a place in the knock-out stages of the competition and will only bolster their place among the top sides if they beat a motivated Western Province.
But it will take a huge effort from the Bloemfontein-based team.
The Cheetahs will look to take on Western Province in the scrums, with heavyweights like props Trevor Nyakane, new inclusion Schalk van der Merwe, and locks Lood de Jager and Freddie Ngoza providing power up front.
Van der Merwe and Ngoza proved their worth after they came on as replacements against the Sharks and Drotské rewarded them with inclusion in the run-on side.
"Both Schalk van der Merwe and Freddie Ngoza did very well against the Sharks. They will give us more power, specially at scrum time. They deserve a chance after their individual performances and that is what they are given."
Western Province travel to Bloemfontein after a difficult home game against Griquas last weekend and will look to better that performance against the Cheetahs.
The Capetonians beat Griquas 19-13 in a tough match played in inclement weather.
"The game against Griquas is one that we much rather want to forget," said Western Province coach Allister Coetzee. Those are the games where you take the points and move on.
"This week we focused on the Cheetahs, which will be another tough ask. We will have to execute our game plan much better and will have to be more clinical."
Province see the return of Springbok flank Schalk Burger after a lengthy absence due to a calf muscle injury and bacterial meningitis. He has been included on the replacement bench and might get a run against the Free State side.
"We are happy to have Schalk back, but we are not going to rush him into anything," Coetzee said.
"He looked very good during practice and we will decide when and if he gets game time against the Free State. For now we focus on the game itself. We need to beat the Cheetahs if we are to be sure of a home semi-final and a place in the final."
Marius Jonker will be the referee for the clash which kicks off at 17:05.
Free State Cheetahs:
15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Riaan Smit, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Piet Lindeque, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Boom Prinsloo, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Lappies Labuschagné, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Freddie Ngoza, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Hercu Liebenberg, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Substitutes: 16 AJ le Roux, 17 Rossouw de Klerk, 18 Francois Uys, 19 Davon Raubenheimer, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Rayno Benjamin, 22 Willie du Plessis
15. Gio Aplon, 14. Gerhard van den Heever, 13. Michael van der Spuy, 12. Damian de Allende, 11. Cheslin Kolbe, 10. Kurt Coleman, 9. Nic Groom, 8. Nizaam Carr, 7. Michael Rhodes, 6. Deon Fourie (captain), 5. De Kock Steenkamp, 4. Tazz Fuzani, 3. Pat Cilliers, 2. Scarra Ntubeni, 1. Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16. Michael Willemse, 17. Brok Harris, 18. Gerbrandt Grobler, 19. Schalk Burger, 20. Josh Katzen, 21. Louis Schreuder, 22. Demetri Catrakilis