Bloemfontein - Cheetahs coach Franco Smith has named his team for Friday’s PRO14 encounter against Ulster at the Free State Stadium.
The Cheetahs are hunting their first victory of the season against the Irishmen, who will be looking to stretch their winning run in the competition to four matches and maintain their unbeaten status against South African sides.
Smith has made two changes to the starting XV that lost 52-24 at home to the Glasgow Warriors last weekend.
Up front, Ox Nche and Charles Marais swap places at loosehead prop, with Nche in the starting line-up and Marais providing cover off the bench.
In the loose trio, Niell Jordaan replaces Aidon Davis at No 8, with Stephan Malan will be providing cover off the bench. Malan will make his PRO14 debut if he gets a chance.
On the bench, lock Justin Basson replaces Dennis Visser, while Louis Fouche replaces Marnus van der Merwe.
Fouche is also in line for his PRO14 debut.
The teams have only met once before - in the Cheetahs’ very first PRO14 match when Ulster registered a convincing 42-19 victory in Belfast.
Good discipline will be vital for Smith’s men, as Ulster have kicked 11 penalty goals so far in the competition - all by John Cooney, the top try-scorer in the series - while they also need to tighten up their defence after conceding 52 points last week.
The Cheetahs will also have to contain Springbok loose forward Marcell Coetzee, who has been a stand-out performer on attack and defence, with 22 carries last week alone, while he was also a handful at the breakdowns.
Cheetahs captain Tian Meyer says they want to impress their home fans.
“We’ve grown a lot since the first match of the season and have a lot of potential. We grow in different aspects of the game. We hope that this time things will come together and that we will put out a good performance on Friday.”
Friday’s clash is scheduled for 19:15.
In the curtain-raiser at 17:00, the Free State Cheetahs will play their final Currie Cup game of the season when they entertain the Pumas.
15 Malcolm Jaer, 14 William Small-Smith, 13 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 12 Nico Lee, 11 Rabz Maxwane, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Tian Meyer (captain), 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Junior Pokomela, 6 Gerhard Olivier, 5 JP du Preez, 4 Walt Steenkamp, 3 Aranos Coetzee, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Ox Nche
Substitutes: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Gunther Janse van Vuuren, 19 Justin Basson, 20 Stephan Malan, 21 Shaun Venter, 22 Louis Fouche, 23 Ryno Eksteen
15 Will Addison, 14
Craig Gilroy, 13 Henry Speight, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Angus Kernohan,
10 Billy Burns, 9 David Shanahan, 8 Marcell Coetzee, 7 Sean Reidy, 6
Matthew Rea, 5 Kieran Treadwell, 4 Alan O'Connor, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Rob
Herring (captain), 1 Eric O'Sullivan
Substitutes: 16 John
Andrew, 17 Andrew Warwick, 18 Tom O'Toole, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Nick
Timoney, 21 Jonny Stewart, 22 Angus Curtis, 23 Darren Cave