Former Chiefs coach wields the axe
Sergeal Petersen will play his last match for the Cheetahs’ senior side when they take on Glasgow Warriors in Bloemfontein on Friday.
Petersen who is Cape Town-bound next month was instrumental in the Cheetahs winning the Currie Cup last year – 40 years after they did so the first time.
Head coach Rory Duncan paid tribute to the former sprinter.
“Sergeal has been a great servant of Free State rugby and added a lot of value to team.
"Playing in his last game for the Cheetahs will be a bit of motivation for the rest of the team‚” said Duncan.
The coach has made just one change to his side‚ with Raymond Rhule ruled out through an ankle injury.
His place goes to sevens star Rosko Specman.
The Cheetahs’ resources are stretched with several players still on the injured list.
Elandre Huggett (knee)‚ Neil Jordaan (ankle and knee)‚ Steven Meiring (appendix)‚ Gerhard Olivier (ankle)‚ Ruan van Rensburg (knee)‚ Fred Zeilinga (hip)‚ Niel Marais (shoulder)‚ Uzair Cassiem (rib) and Rhule (ankle) are all unavailable.
While the Cheetahs have kept the changes to the minimum‚ the Warriors‚ this season under the stewardship of former Chiefs coach Dave Rennie‚ have rung the changes.
They will‚ however‚ field a hugely experienced side.
No fewer than six players having racked up 100 caps for the club‚ while five others have played more than 50 games.
They have added more mettle in the second row in the shape of Scottish international Jonny Gray in a team barely recognisable from the one that beat Benetton Rugby last weekend.
Fraser Brown‚ James Bhatti and Zander Fagerson make up the new front row‚ while Tim Swinson will lock down with Gray.
Captain Ryan Wilson‚ Adam Ashe‚ Callum Gibbons complete the new look pack.
Nick Grigg‚ Leonardo Sarto‚ Tommy Seymour and Ruaridh Jackson are the new backs.
“It's great having Jonny (Gray) back‚” enthused Rennie.
“He’s been working hard for a lot of weeks jumping out of his skin‚ so we're excited to have him in there.
“With Jonny and Fraser (Brown) back it gives us more experience on the field and they both bring a lot of physicality‚ which is going to be important against the Cheetahs.
“The Cheetahs can play a couple of different games.
"They have a big pack who can maul well and they have some real gas out wide‚ so they're prepared to play.
“We’ll have to be accurate and really disciplined‚ but we want to play and hopefully the conditions will allow us to do that.
“Scott (Cummings) and Lee (Jones) have played all five games this season‚ plus the two trial matches we had before that‚ so it's a case of trying to freshen those guys up.”
The Warriors are on a hot streak.
Since losing a pre season friendly to Northampton they’ve gone unbeaten in their last six matches and are the only unbeaten side in the competition.
Cheetahs team to play Glasgow Warriors: Sergeal Petersen; Roscko Specman‚ Francois Venter (captain)‚ William small-Smith‚ Makazole Mapimipi; Ernst Stapelberg‚ Tian Meyer; Oupa Mohoje‚ Henco Venter‚ Paul Schoeman; Reneil Hugo‚ Justin Basson; Tom Botha‚ Torsten van Jaarsveld‚ Charles Marais. Substitutes: Jacques du Toit‚ Ox Nché‚ Johan Coetzee‚ Rynier Bernardo‚ Junior Pokmela; Shaun Venter‚ Nico Lee.