Super Rugby preview: Cheetahs host the Chiefs at Free State Stadium

Last Updated: 04/04/14 10:41am

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Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie has warned his squad that taking on the Cheetahs on their home patch will be a difficult proposition on Saturday.

Bloemfontein is the setting for the game as the Cheetahs play their first match since returning home from a difficult Super Rugby away tour.

Super Rugby champions Chiefs, meanwhile, managed to claim a 34-34 draw against all the odds at the Bulls last week and enter the game at Free State Stadium wary.

"A couple of years ago when we played them in Bloemfontein we won in the end, but with fifteen minutes on the clock the game was even," said Rennie as he looks to return to winning ways.

"They are way better at home and we are well aware of it. Their Australasian tour didn't go as well as the previous year's one, but they are a different creature at home."

Rennie continued by saying his champion side underestimated the Force a fortnight ago when they suffered their only defeat of the competition so far - a 18-15 reverse - and they would not make the same mistake on South African soil.

"They (the Cheetahs) beat the Bulls in Bloemfontein earlier in the competition. You can't underestimate any side in this competition. We didn't pay enough respect to the Force and played poorly and got beaten," he added.

"So we've learned a lesson from that and know that we need to be at our best this weekend."

The Chiefs have made ten changes to their line-up for the last match of their overseas tour.

The front row remains the same but in the forwards Michael Fitzgerald moves to flanker and is joined on the other side of the scrum by Sam Cane.

Liam Messam starts in the number eight jersey and Augustine Pulu will take control at half-back. In the backs, Tim Nanai-Williams and Gareth Anscombe will start at winger and full-back.

Mahonri Schwalger has been replaced on the bench by Nathan Harris after experiencing an eye issue. He has returned to New Zealand along with Ben Afeaki, who also went home as a safety measure after receiving a knock at training prior to the Bulls game.

New additions to the reserves this week are Liam Squire, Tanerau Latimer, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Anton Lienert-Brown and Mils Muliana.

Cheetahs changes

The Cheetahs have made a handful of changes ahead of their home fixture against the Chiefs.

Coach Naka Drotské will be without number eight Philip van der Walt due to a hand injury, which rules him out for approximately eight weeks.

Taking his jersey in their back-row will be Jean Cook, who starts alongside the returning Lappies Labuschange and openside flank Boom Prinsloo.

Loosehead prop Trevor Nyakane also makes a start, replacing Caylib Oosthuizen who moves to the bench, at loosehead prop for the home fixture.

In the backline, Ryno Benjamin continues at inside centre in the absence of Francois Venter.

You can see all the action from Free State Stadium as the Cheetahs take on the Chiefs live on Sky Sports 2 - Red Button from 2pm.

Cheetahs: 15 le Roux, 14 Hendricks, 13 Sadie, 12 Benjamin, 11 Daniller, 10 Goosen, 9 Pretorius; 1 Nyakane, 2 Strauss (capt), 3 van Dyk, 4 de Jager, 5 Uys, 6 Prinsloo, 7 Labuschagne, 8 Cook.
Replacements: 16 Barnes, 17 Oosthuizen, 18 de Klerk, 19 Ferreira, 20 Mohoje, 21 Venter, 22 Watts, 23 Mnisi.

Chiefs: 15 Anscombe, 14 Nanai-Williams, 13 Horrell, 12 T Marshall, 11 Tikoirotuma, 10 Cruden (capt), 9 Pulu; 1 Manu, 2 R Marshall, 3 Tameifuna, 4 Symons, 5 Retallick, 6 Fitzgerald, 7 Cane, 8 Messam.
Replacements: 16 Harris, 17 Mackintosh, 18 Hohneck, 19 Squire, 20 Latimer, 21 Kerr-Barlow, 22 Lienert-Brown, 23 Muliaina.

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