The Cheetahs will be serious contenders in the Currie Cup, after coach Naka Drotské named a strong side full of Super Rugby players for the opening match against the Leopards.
An injury crisis during the Super Rugby campaign forced the Cheetahs to test their depth, and they could reap those rewards during the Currie Cup when their youngsters have that experience to fall back on.
Andries Strauss is back as the skipper after a long-term injury and will be a force in the midfield alongside Corné Uys.
Flyhalf Sias Ebersohn has already made a name for himself this season and will wear the No.10 jersey again this weekend, although he may face competition from Baby Boks pivot Johan Goosen this season.
Goosen has been identified as a future star will massive potential and there could be a battle between him and Ebersohn for the starting berth in the future.
"He [Goosen] is definitely part of the Currie Cup plans," Drotské told Volksblad. "We just felt it was better for us and him to play for the Under-21 team and get more game time at flyhalf."
Springbok sevens star Boom Prinsloo is also back in the 15-man game and has the opportunity to prove his worth in the No.8 jersey on Saturday.
Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Riaan Smit, 13 Corné Uys, 12 Andries Strauss (captain), 11 Rayno Benjamin, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Tewis de Bruyn, 8 Boom Prinsloo, 7 Thean Labuschagné, 6 Johan Wessels, 5 Waltie Vermeulen, 4 Francois Uys, 3 WP Nel, 2 Michael van Vuuren, 1 Marcel van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 PW van Vuuren, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Izak van der Westhuizen, 19 Pieter Myburgh, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Philip Snyman, 22 Philip Burger.
Date: Saturday, July 16
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 15.00 (13.00 GMT)
Referee: Jaftha Jason
Assistant referees: Joey Salmans, Fumanekile Yamile
Assessor: Lusanda Menze
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