Vodacom Super Rugby
Brenden Nel - SuperSport
Cheetahs injury woes worsen
Johannesburg - The Cheetahs have been hit by another injury, and have been forced to make one change to their side to face the Highlanders on Friday.
Ginger-haired Phillip van der Walt, the former Springbok Sevens player, has torn knee ligaments, and will fly home to undergo treatment in Bloemfontein, leaving the team with their umpteenth injury this season.
Davon Raubenheimer moves to the flank from the back of the scrum, with Ashley Johnson coming back in at No 8, robbing the Cheetahs of the chance of naming their first unchanged starting line-up of the season.
Leon Karemaker comes onto the bench as one of two uncapped players. Riaan Smit could join the flank in their Super Rugby debuts this season.
The Cheetahs have lost more than half their starting XV to injuries this year, as the new look Super Rugby competition takes a heavy toll on their player ranks.
They have lost loose forwards Juan Smith (Achilles), Heinrich Brüssow (ribs), Frans Viljoen (hamstring), Van der Walt (knee). Hooker Adriaan Strauss is also out with a fractured hand, while his cousin Andries is out of the tour with a groin injury.
In the backline it is no better, with fullback Hennie Daniller home with a calf injury while three wingers are ruled out.
Philip Snyman (ankle), Jongi Nokwe (knee ligaments) and Rayno Benjamin (hamstring) all are rehabilitating back home in Bloemfontein.
Van der Walt will see a specialist in Bloemfontein but it is likely he will be out for at least six months. Teams:
15 Ben Smith, 14 Kade Poki, 13 Kendrick Lynn, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Siale Piutau, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 Alando Soakai, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Chris King, 2 Jason Rutledge, 1 Jamie Mackintosh (captain)
Substitutes: 16 Mo Schwalger, 17 David Te Moana, 18 Tom Donnelly, 19 Nick Crosswell, 20 Aaron Smith, 21 Robbie Robinson, 22 James PatersonCheetahs:
15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Philip Burger, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Corné Uys, 11 Wilmaure Louw, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Ashley Johnson, 7 Davon Raubenheimer, 6 Kabamba Floors, 5 Wilhelm Steenkamp (captain), 4 Francois Uys, 3 WP Nel, 2 Ryno Barnes, 1 Coenie Oosthuizen
Substitutes: 16 Skipper Badenhorst, 17 Lourens Adriaanse, 18 Martin Muller, 19 Leon Karemaker, 20 Tewis de Bruyn, 21 Naas Olivier, 22 Riaan Smit