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- 28th Apr 2012
- KO 16:05
Cheetahs v Highlanders: Teams
At Free State Stadium, Saturday April 28, kick-off 4:05pm
Cheetahs captain and hooker Adriaan Strauss returns to the starting XV for Saturday's clash with the Highlanders in Bloemfontein.
Strauss was a late withdrawal through illness ahead of their match with the Chiefs a fortnight ago, but has now fully recovered following the Cheetahs' bye last weekend.
Coach Naka Drotske has made three other changes to his run-on side, all in the back-line.
Cameron Jacobs comes in for the injured Rayno Benjamin on the right wing, while fly-half Johan Goosen and scrum-half Tewis de Bruyn are preferred to Sias Ebersohn and Piet van Zyl respectively as the starting half-backs.
Drotske has also preferred to start Justin Downey on the flank, which means Springbok loose forward Ashley Johnson continues on the bench after he made a telling contribution as an impact player in the loss to the Chiefs.
Ben Smith has recovered from concussion in time to be named at full-back for the Highlanders.
Smith missed his side's 30-27 victory over the Blues in Dunedin, but returns for the team's first tour match in South Africa as the only change to their run-on XV.
The former All Black replaces Tamati Ellison at 15, with Ellison shifting back to outside centre in place of Phil Burleigh who drops out of the matchday 22.
Siale Piutau makes a welcome return from an ankle injury to take a place on the bench.
The Highlanders have won all six previous games against the Cheetahs.
Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Cameron Jacobs, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Willie le Roux, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Tewis de Bruyn, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Justin Downey, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 WP Nel, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Coenie Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Hercu Liebenberg, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 George Earle, 19 Ashley Johnson, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 Philip Snyman.
Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Buxton Popoali'i, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Mike Delany, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 James Haskell, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Jarrad Hoeata, 4 Josh Bekhuis, 3 Chris King, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Jamie Mackintosh (c).
Replacements: 16 Jason Rutledge, 17 Ma'afu Fia, 18 Culum Retallick, 19 Doug Tietjens, 20 Jimmy Cowan, 21 Chris Noakes, 22 Siale Piutau.
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Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com