Sevens Springbok Johannes Prinsloo has been named as captain of the Free State Cheetahs for their opening Currie Cup encounter, with the Golden Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Prinsloo will start in the No.6 jersey in place of Heinrich Brüssow, who headed to Japan after the conclusion of the Super Rugby season.
With regular captain Adriaan Strauss on Springbok duty, Prinsloo will lead the side.
The most significant changes is in the front row – where Leopards recruit Jon-Roy Jenkinson will start at tighthead prop in place of Bok Trevor Nyakane, Hercu Liebenberg at hooker in place of Strauss and Caylib Oosthuizen at loosehead prop in place of Coenie Oosthuizen.
Oosthuizen and Nyakane is also with the national team in Johannesburg, where they are preparing for the Rugby Championships.
Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské has opted to start two high-profile recruits – hooker Ethienne Reynecke (from Connacht in Ireland) and Springbok Wian du Preez (Munster).
They will be worked back into the system slowly.
The rest of the pack is much the same as that which did duty in Super Rugby.
Elgar Watts has been named at flyhalf, with Riaan Smith moved to the wing – a position that was occupied by Springbok flyer Willie le Roux during the Super Rugby season.
Both Rayno Benjamin and new addition Tonderai Chavanga are injured and not available Saturday’s game.
“We are a little short on wings at the moment, that’s why we are looking to Riaan to help us in that regard,” coach Naka Drotske said.
Drotské also received another injury setback, with lock Andries Ferreira (having injured his shoulder in the practice match against Griquas last Friday. He will be sidelined for the entire season.
Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Riaan Smit, 13 Johan Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Johannes Prinsloo (captain), 5 Waltie Vermeulen, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Jon-Roy Jenkinson, 2 Hercu Liebenberg, 1 Caylib Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, Wian du Preez, 18 Teboho Mohoje, 19 Davon Raubenheimer, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Joubert Engelbrecht, 22 Piet Lindeque.
Date: Saturday, August 10
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 15.00 (13.00 GMT)
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: Ben Crouse, Cobus Wessels
TMO: Shaun Veldsman