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Super Rugby: Cheetahs v Western Force match preview
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The Cheetahs host Western Force in Bloemfontein on Saturday looking for a positive result to climb off the foot of the Super Rugby table.
Naka Drotske's side currently prop up the standings with 15 points from their opening 11 games, including eight defeats.
Their latest loss was last week's 26-21 reverse at the Bulls but, on a more positive note, the Cheetahs won their last game at home - a 35-22 victory over the Stormers.
The Force have enjoyed a solid start to the campaign, winnings six of their nine outings to sit in the wildcard placings, and saw off the Bulls 15-9 at home before last week's bye.
Springboks Johan Goosen and Coenie Oosthuizen have been named in the Cheetahs starting line-up after they came off the bench in the defeat to the Bulls.
Fly-half Goosen has recovered from a concussion to replace Elgar Watts, while Oosthuizen comes in for Maks van Dyk at tighthead prop. Both Watts and Van Dyk drop down to the replacements.
Drotske said: "It is good to have both Johan and Coenie back. They are two quality players that are very influential in the way we want to play.
"Coenie played 30 minutes against the Bulls and I think he showed he is ready for more this week. We will see how it goes with his fitness, but we are excited to have him back.
"Goose has had a rough patch were he had a couple of niggles, so hopefully everything is now 100 percent fine and he can play longer."
Raymond Rhule is named in the side even though he aggravated an ankle injury against the Bulls but if he does not recover in time, Springbok sevens player Cornal Hendricks will be promoted from the bench.
With flanker Jean Cook sidelined with a shoulder injury after the last game, versatile loose forward and lock Teboho Mohoje gets his chance in what will be his starting debut.
Western Force head coach Michael Foley has named an unchanged squad which overcame the Bulls a fortnight ago.
The match will mark fly-half Sias Ebersohn's first in Bloemfontein since joining the Australian club from the Cheetahs for the 2013 Super Rugby season. The Bloemfontein-born pivot played 30 matches for the Cheetahs between 2010 and 2012.
Lock Wilhelm Steenkamp, who will start from the bench, also makes his return to the Free State, where he played 13 matches for the Cheetahs in 2012.
Steenkamp also represented the Bulls and the Sharks before joining the Western Force this season.
Saturday's match is the club's second in a series of four matches against South African opposition, with the Force also to play the Stormers in Cape Town (May 17) before returning to Perth to face the Lions on Saturday, May 24.
Foley said the four remaining matches leading into the June Test break represents an important period for his side.
"It was pleasing to see the boys adapt to a different style of game in difficult conditions against the Bulls," he told the club's official website.
"The intensity we played with was excellent and will be critical in overcoming the Cheetahs, who have scored the third most tries in the competition this season."
Don't miss any of the action as the Cheetahs host the Force live on Sky Sports Xtra or Sky Sports 2 - Red Button from 4.10pm on Saturday.
Cheetahs: 15 Daniller, 14 Rhule/Hendricks, 13 Sadie, 12 Benjamin, 11 le Roux, 10 Goosen, 9 Pretorius; 1 Caylib Oosthuizen, 2 Strauss (c), 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 4 Ferreira, 5 Uys, 6 Brussow, 7 Cook, 8 Prinsloo.
Replacements: 16 van Jaarsveld, 17 Nyakane, 18 van Dyk, 19 Greeff, 20 Vermeulen, 21 Venter, 22 Watts, 23 Hendricks/Mnisi.
Western Force: 15 Hayward, 14 Haylett-Petty, 13 Brache, 12 Godwin, 11 Cummins, 10 Ebersohn, 9 Prior; 1 Cowan, 2 Charles, 3 Longbottom, 4 Coleman, 5 Wykes, 6 Cottrell, 7 Hodgson (c), 8 McCalman.
Replacements: 16 Tessmann, 17 Faulkner, 18 Hoskins, 19 Steenkamp, 20 Stander, 21 Turner, 22 Holmes, 23 Tuatara-Morrison.
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|Friday 13th February|
|06:35||Crusaders vs Melbourne Rebels|
|08:40||Brumbies vs Reds|
|17:10||Lions vs Hurricanes|
|Saturday 14th February|
|06:35||Blues vs Chiefs|
|15:05||Sharks vs Cheetahs|
|17:05||Bulls vs Stormers|
|Sunday 15th February|
|06:05||Waratahs vs Western Force|
|Friday 20th February|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Brumbies|
|08:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Waratahs|
|17:10||Bulls vs Hurricanes|
|Saturday 21st February|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Crusaders|
|08:40||Reds vs Western Force|
|15:05||Stormers vs Blues|
|17:10||Sharks vs Lions|
|Friday 27th February|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Reds|
|11:00||Western Force vs Hurricanes|
|17:10||Cheetahs vs Blues|
|Saturday 28th February|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Crusaders|
|08:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Brumbies|
|15:05||Bulls vs Sharks|
|17:10||Lions vs Stormers|
|Friday 6th March|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Highlanders|
|08:40||Brumbies vs Western Force|
|Saturday 7th March|
|06:35||Blues vs Lions|
|08:40||Reds vs Waratahs|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com