Cheetahs name new Currie Cup backline for Sharks

Free State Cheetahs coach Rory Duncan has named a new backline this weekend’s Currie Cup match against the Sharks in in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

In the backline, only scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius and centre Francois Venter remained in their usual jerseys.

In the absence of injured fullback Clayton Blommetjies, Duncan opted to move Rayno Benjamin into the position, while youngster Maputha Dolo would come in for Benjamin on the wing.

With Raymond Rhule also out injured, JP du Plessis was promoted from the bench. Joubert Engelbrecht and Willie du Plessis were also welcomed back at centre and flyhalf respectively.

“It has been a difficult week with regards to injury. We have a couple of guys back, but we’ve also lost quite a few of our stalwarts,” Duncan said.

“Rayno Benjamin will add a useful attacking dimension from fullback, while everyone else now gets the chance to prove their worth. The Pumas are going to be a difficult side and what better game than this one to show our capabilities.”

The foward pack would see the return of eighthman Lappies Labuschagne, coming in for the injured Jean Cook. Caylib Oosthuizen would pack down at prop with Kevin Stevens dropping out.

Duncan also replaced novice Rudolph Botha at prop with another youngster in George Marich.

“Lappies has looked good in practice, but probably won’t play the full 80 minutes. When you get back from a lengthy injury it is better to take it step by step.”

Should Labuschagne only play one half, another newcomer Vincent Jobo could get his first taste of Currie Cup rugby from the replacement bench.

Free State Cheetahs

Rayno Benjamin, Maputha Dolo, Francois Venter, Joubert Engelbrecht, JP du Plessis, Willie du Plessis, Sarel Pretorius, Lappies Labuschagne, Neil Claassen, Tienie Burger, Francois Uys, Henco Venter, George Marich, Torsten van Jaarsveld (captain), Caylib Oosthuizen.

Replacements: AJ le Roux, Rudolph Botha, Werner Lourens, Vincent Jobo, Shaun Venter, Pieter-Steyn de Wet, AJ Coertzen

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