In the absence of veteran Springbok Juan Smith, who may well miss the start of the season, the Cheetahs will hope that fellow Bok loose forward Heinrich Brüssow can go through the Super Rugby pre-season injury free.
Smith, who missed last year's World Cup in New Zealand because of his ongoing Achilles problems, was in Cape Town this week to see a specialist after the injury flared up again.
He returned to training recently after missing almost a full year, having ruptured his Achilles in the opening match of the 2011 Super Rugby season.
However, he felt some discomfort and decided to see a specialist in Cape Town to determine when he can return to action.
It has put a question mark over his participation in the Cheetahs' opening match of the 2012 season - when they tackle the Currie Cup champions, the Lions, in Johannesburg on February 25.
However, with Brüssow having made a full recovery from the injuries that hampered him throughout 2011, he will step back into the spotlight when they face a Border Bulldogs/SWD Eagles combination in a pre-season trial in East London on Saturday.
Cheetahs assistant coach Hawies Fourie admitted that the 20-Test Bok, Brüssow, will be a crucial cog in the Cheetahs machinery.
"Yes, we missed Heinrich [Brüssow] quite a bit last year, and it is great to have him back," Fourie told this website, ahead of their encounter with the Bulldogs/Eagles outfit.
"We hope that he can avoid any major injuries this year, as he had his fare share.
"It will be great for the team if he can feature in most of the games."
"[Prop] Coenie [Oosthuizen] is not ready yet, but he should be fit for the early rounds of the competition. We also missed him in the latter rounds of the Currie Cup [competition]."
Fourie believes the Cheetahs will be better placed to challenge for the play-offs this year, now that most of the squad can bank on at least one full season of Super Rugby experience.
"I do believe it will benefit us [that a good number of the core group have enough Super Rugby experience]," he told this website.
"Last year a substantial number of players had opportunities, especially as a result of all the injuries, and they played some good rugby.
"A guy like [flank] Devon Raubenheimer had a really good season, and before he joined us for Super Rugby he was on Griquas' bench.
"There are a few players like that, and a number of players have a couple of Super Rugby seasons behind them.
"It will make a big difference, especially if you look at a player like Sias Ebersohn, who was in his first [Super Rugby] season last year.
"There is no doubt it is advantageous to have experience in a competition as tough as Super Rugby."
By Jan de Koning
Gilbert has released a new line of rugby cleats. The Gilbert Virtuo 8S is part of the exciting new product. Check it out.
The entire All Blacks apparel line has been updated for 2013/14. Check out the New Zealand All Blacks polo.
The Nike Tiempo is a solid rugby cleat and one of few styles still made from full-grain natural leather.
The Gilbert Blitz 8S rugby cleat is a great cleat at a great price of $69.99. Get a new pair of cleats today.
A cool looking all black rugby cleat with the high performance adidas is known for. Get in the Gear!
Wear the crest of the British and Irish Lions on your t-shirt. A great look for the summer.
The All Blacks Performance t-shirt is black with hints of blue from the training jersey. Very Cool.
The New Zealand All Blacks training jersey for 2013/14. Get in the Gear!
The USA Rugby Pro Alternate rugby jersey is perfect for any fan of the Eagles. Get yours to wear during the summer Test matches.
The NEW All Blacks 2013/14 jersey has arrived at World Rugby Shop. Dare to wear the colors of the All Blacks.