The stocks of Springbok prop Trevor Nyakane is continuing to plummet at an alarming rate.
Just over six months after he made his Test debut, the likable front row forward with the infectious smile can’t command a regular starting spot in the Cheetahs team.
Caylib Oosthuizen has been named at loosehead in the Cheetahs starting XV to face the Pumas in their final pre-season outing in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
The game, originally scheduled to take place at the Fezile Dabi Stadium in Parys, was moved to the Old Greys sports grounds in Bloemfontein after the decision by the Free State provincial Government to postpone the annual Reconciliation Cup to a later date.
It would have been the first-ever game of it’s kind to be played in this historic town of Parys and the first rugby match at the Fezile Dabi Stadium. The Reconciliation Cup would also have seen the local soccer team, Bloemfontein Celtic, in action.
However, far more significant than the change of venue is the absence of Nyakane, with coach Naka Drotské making it clear Oosthuizen is in the team on “merit”, because he out-performed Nyakane in the first two pre-season matches – against the Shimlas and Southern Kings.
Nyakane’s fall from grace, after he made his Bok debut against Italy in Durban in June last year and scored a try in his third Test against Samoa in Pretoria later that month, comes after he was also axed from the national team for a lack of discipline.
It appears the talented young prop has not learnt from being told to ‘clean up his act’ and his form is also suffering – after he burst onto the global stage with a serious of impressive performances in 2013.
Apart from Bok fullback Willie le Roux, who has been wrapped in cotton wool after suffering a shoulder injury in the first pre-season outing, and Bok flank Heinrich Brüssow (who underwent surgery on an injured toe and will be ruled out for three months), the Cheetahs have named their best available starting XV.
Shaun Venter starts at scrumhalf, as Sarel Pretorius is eased back off the bench after a shoulder injury in the off-season.
Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Pieter Labuschagné, 6 Jean Cook, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Caylib Oosthuizen.
Replacements – from: Ryno Barnes, Trevor Nyakane, Rynhardt Landman, Johannes Prinsloo, Sarel Pretorius, Elgar Watts, Rayno Benjamin, Riaan Smit, Maks van Dyk.
Date: Saturday, February 1
Venue: Old Greys sports grounds, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 16.45 (14.45 GMT)
Referee: Lesego Legoete