Physical game key: Drotské
Bloemfontein - A physical approach will be key to thwarting the in-form Sharks in their Super Rugby encounter on Saturday in Bloemfontein, Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské said.
"We need to be physical as well as play good attacking rugby. That is why guys like Coenie Oosthuizen, Adriaan Strauss and Willie le Roux are included," Drotské said on Friday.
The inclusion of the experienced trio would boost the team's chances of victory at the Free State Stadium and Drotské said he expected influential Springbok fullback Le Roux to add a new dimension to the line-up.
"Willie played at full back in our first couple of games, but we felt he lost some form playing from the back and that is why we moved him back to wing. He started playing well again and we had Hennie Daniller in his place who was very well-suited to the full back position.
"But Willie comes from a brilliant last couple of weeks where he put in stellar performances at full back for the Springboks so that is why he has been chosen there. He has his confidence back and will be our playmaker against the Sharks. If he plays like he has during the last couple of weeks, we are in a very good spot."
While, the Cheetahs could achieve very little in terms of their position on the log, the Sharks were already certain of finishing at the top of the South African conference and had the luxury of rotating players for the match.
Sharks coach Jake White had opted to start with his Springbok contingent on the bench for the match.
The Du Plessis brothers, Jannie and Bismarck, as well as Willem Alberts found themselves among the replacements.
Despite the line-up, White said it did not mean the Sharks had underestimated their hosts.
"We still see the Cheetahs as a big threat. But we need to rest some of our key players with our sights set on playing in the semi's and a possible final," White said.
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Rayno Benjamin, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lood de Jager, 3 Coenie Ootshuizen, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Trevor Nyakane
Substitutes: 16 Caylib Oosthuizen, 17 Luan de Bruin, 18 Carl Wegner, 19 Jean Cook, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Shaun Venter, 22 Elgar Watts, 23 Hennie Daniller
15. SP Marais, 14. JP Pietersen, 13. S’bura Sithole, 12. Frans Steyn, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Tim Swiel, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. Jean Deysel (captain), 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Anton Bresler, 4. Stephan Lewies, 3. Lourens Adriaanse, 2. Kyle Cooper, 1. Dale Chadwick
Substitutes: 16. Thomas du Toit, 17. Bismarck du Plessis, 18. Jannie du Plessis, 19. Willem Alberts, 20. Tera Mtembu, 21. Charl McLeod, 22. Odwa Ndungane, 23. Tonderai Chavhanga