Strauss makes Cheetahs start
Free State Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské has brought in his two Springboks and two stalwarts to face the Blue Bulls on Saturday.
The Cheetahs need a victory or a bonus point to ensure they qualify for the semi-finals against a Bulls side bolstered by their returning Springboks.
It came as no surprise when Drotské included his two Bok front rowers, Adriaan Strauss and Coenie Oosthuizen, both playing their first Currie Cup games of the season.
Strauss replaced the injured Hercu Liebenberg, while Oosthuizen came in for Schalk van der Merwe who was relegated to the replacement bench.
"We expect a huge physical battle and a big challenge from the Bulls in the scrums," said Drotske
"A guy like Schalk van der Merwe has really put up his hand in the other players' absence and can still be utilised as an impact player."
"It is comforting to have guys like Adriaan and Coenie back. They will partner with Trevor Nyakane to form an all Springbok front row against the Bulls."
The coach also relegated upcoming youngster Teboho Mohoje to the replacement bench and brought in Super Rugby regular Philip van der Walt after he showed last week against Griquas he had fully recovered from injury.
Winger Piet Lindeque would also play from the bench with Rayno Benjamin coming into the starting line up in the final change.
Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Rayno Benjamin, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Lappies Labuschagne, 6 Boom Prinsloo, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Francois Uys, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Coenie Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 AJ le Roux, 17 Schalk van der Merwe, 18 Teboho Mohoje, 19 Freddie Ngoza, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Piet Lindeque, 22 Willie du Plessis.
Date: Saturday, October 12
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 19:10 local (17:10 GMT)
Referee: Marius Jonker