Cape Town - Oupa Mohoje is looking forward to the opportunity of captaining the Free State Cheetahs in their Currie Cup clash against the EP Kings in Port Elizabeth on Friday.
Cheetahs coach Franco Smith on Wednesday entrusted the Springbok loose forward with the captaincy duties for this game, with regular skipper Francois Uys rested.
Mohoje, who recently re-joined the Cheetahs after not making the final Springbok Rugby World Cup squad, played off the bench in last week’s 24-17 loss to the Blue Bulls in Pretoria. He will start in place of Henco Venter, while Reniel Hugo starts at lock with Uys on the bench.
“It’s quite an experience for me. The coach backs me, so I’m glad about that. And hopefully in future we can go to this position," Mohoje said at a press conference in Bloemfontein on Wednesday. "There’s obviously quite a bit to learn. I was captain at the Shimlas, (but) there is a difference obviously, hopefully I can learn as much as I can so that maybe in future I can captain in more games.”
Smith made it clear though that Uys was not dropped.
“He is a little bit over-played, showing signs of fatigue. He played almost all the games in Super Rugby under a lot of pressure. And it’s not only physical stress, it’s also mental stress that limits your enthusiasm, so it was important for me to give him a bit of a break this week.”
Despite being disappointed at missing out on Springbok selection, Mohoje is happy to be back playing again.
“The last time I had played was around June and the last time a played a proper game was around March before I got injured. So it was exciting to be back, I always wanted to play.
"We are rugby players at the end of the day and getting my opportunity this past weekend was amazing and I really hope this weekend will also top it.”
Friday's clash at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium is scheduled for 19:10.
15 Scott van Breda, 14 Siyanda Grey, 13 JP du Plessis, 12 Tim Whitehead, 11 Luther Obi, 10 Karlo Aspeling, 9 Enrico Acker, 8 Tim Agaba, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Steven Sykes, 4 Stefan Willemse, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Lizo Gqoboka
Substitutes: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Schalk Ferreira, 18 Simon Kerrod, 19 Cornell Hess, 20 Jacques Engelbrecht, 21 Dwayne Kelly, 22 Elgar Watts
Free State Cheetahs:
15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Rayno Benjamin, 11 Cornal Hendricks, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Oupa Mohoje (captain), 6 Gerhard Olivier, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Armandt Koster, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 BG Uys
Substitutes: 16 Elandre Huggett, 17 Teunis Nieuwoudt, 18 Francois Uys, 19 Henco Venter, 20 Freddy Ngoza, 21 Ruan de Bruin, 22 Sias Ebersohn