Rudolph Jacobs
Rugby journalist
2 minute read
31 Mar 2016
1:56 pm

Rookie at 12 for Cheetahs

Rudolph Jacobs

Rookie Shimlas centre Nico Lee will make his Super Rugby debut on Saturday for the Cheetahs at Loftus against the Bulls.

Nico Lee of Shimlas scoring his try during the Varsity Cup Final match between FNB-UFS Shimlas and FNB-NWU PUKKE at University of Free State on April 13, 2015 in Bloemfontein, South Africa. (Photo by Johan Pretorius/Gallo Images)

Cheetahs coach Franco Smith yesterday named just one change to the side who went down 25-18 to the Brumbies in Bloemfontein last weekend with Lee replacing the injured Joubert Engelbrecht who injured his upper arm during that game.

Engelbrecht ironically was standing in for the injured William Small-Smith who has gone under the knife for a fractured toe sustained two weeks earlier against the Lions at Ellis Park and the duo will unfortunately only be back after the June Test window.

Smith has opted for six forwards on his bench and only two backs in scrumhalf Tian Meyer and utility back Fred Zeilinga who can cover flyhalf, fullback and if necessary also wing.

Apart from including an entire frontrow on the bench which is the law in the competition, Smith also included two locks in Carl Wegner and Hilton Lobberts, while Henco Venter will cover the looseforward position even though Lobberts is also at eae playing blindside flank.

The Cheetahs started their season with losses at home to the Jaguares and Stormers before scoring their first win away against the Sunwolves in Singapore, but then again going down in their last two matches against the Lions and the Brumbies.

Smith has again decided to start with what many regard as his backup props in Ox Nche and Johan Coetzee, with the impact of Charles Marais and Maks van Dyk to be unleashed in the second half, but Smith has stated that a team need to rotate his four regular props regularly because of the toughness and long duration of the competition.

Cheetahs :15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Segeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter (capt), 12 Nico Lee, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Niel Marais, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Paul Schoeman, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Boom Prinsloo, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lood de Jager, 3 Johan Coetzee, Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Ox Nche

Bench: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Maks van Dyk, 19 Carl Wegner, 20 Hilton Lobberts, 21 Henco Venter, 22 Tian Meyer, 23 Fred Zeilinga