Preview: Golden Lions v Cheetahs

Date published: October 9 2014

The Golden Lions play host to the Free State Cheetahs on Saturday in a Currie Cup match with play-off connotations for both sides.

The Golden Lions host the Free State Cheetahs in a crunch Currie Cup clash at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Saturday in a match with play-off connotations for both sides.

With one match left in the Round Robin stage of this year’s competition, the Lions need a victory to secure a home semi-final should the Sharks win at Newlands later on the day.

Should the Lions lose and the Sharks win, they will meet in the semi-finals in Durban later this month.

For the fifth-placed Cheetahs, even a victory might not be enough to secure the final play-off spot – they trail the Blue Bulls by two points and have to hope Frans Ludeke’s side slips up against Griquas in the final match of the day.

The Lions will welcome back captain Warren Whiteley and Derick Minnie to the side after the duo returned from Springbok duties earlier this week.

Another change from last week’s 23-26 away defeat to the Sharks, Howard Mnisi gets an opportunity at inside centre, meaning Harold Vorster drops to the bench along with Warwick Tecklenburg and Willie Britz.

The Cheetahs can call on their returning Springbok players and lock Lood de Jager, flanker Teboho Mohoje and prop Trevor Nyakane have all been included in the starting XV.

Their inclusion means Lappies Labuschagne shifts from blindside flank to number eight, with Neil Claassen, George Marich, and Henco Venter taking up spots on the bench.

Springbok prop Coenie Oosthuizen was not included in the Cheetahs squad, though, as he is among the SA Rugby Union-contracted players that will gather for a training session in Stellenbosch later this month.

Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske has been forced to reshuffle his backline as well, with the injured vice-captain Francois Venter making way for JP du Plessis and AJ Coertzen shifting to the wing.

Prediction: Although the addition of their Springbok players adds a bit star quality to the Cheetahs side, the Lions are playing with more continuity at the moment. The Golden Lions to win by five points!

The teams:

Golden Lions: 15 Marnitz Boshoff, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Martin Muller, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Julian Redelinghuys, 19 Willie Britz, 20 Warwick Tecklenburg, 21 Mark Richards.

Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 AJ Coertzen, 13 JP du Plessis, 12 Joubert Engelbrecht, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Willie du Plessis, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Lappies Labuschagne, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Tienie Burger, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lood de Jager, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld (c), 1 Caylib Oosthuizen
Replacements: 16 Hercu Liebenberg, 17 George Marich, 18 Henco Venter, 19 Neil Claassen, 20 Shaun Venter, 21 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 22 Maputha Dolo.

Date: Saturday, October 11
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Kickoff: 15.00 (13.00 GMT)
Referee: Stuart Berry
Assistant Referees: Ben Crouse, Francois de Bruin
TMO: Johan Greeff