Ebersohn to captain Cheetahs
Toyota Cheetahs midfielder Robert Ebersohn will celebrate his 50th game for his province by being awarded the captaincy of the side ahead of their Absa Currie Cup opener against the Lions at Coca Cola Park on Saturday.
Ebersohn, who has excelled and become a stalwart in the team, was an easy choice for coach Naka Drotske for captain, especially after he lost regular captain Adriaan Strauss to the Springboks over the weekend.
Born and bred in Bloemfontein, Ebersohn is a product of the Grey College school of excellence and will partner another former captain in Andries Strauss in the midfield as the Cheetahs decided on a strong selection for the match.
Interestingly Drotske has given the opportunity to 19-year old Raymond Rhule, who excelled for the Baby Boks in their IRB Junior World Championship victory earlier this year and has already established himself as a rising star in South African rugby. Rhule will make his debut and given his pedigree, could well become a masterstroke in selection for Drotske.
With Heinrich Brussow still nursing a knee injury and not available for selection, Sevens Bok Boom Prinsloo comes into the side to take his place and form part of a potent loose trio.
Interestingly, promising young scrumhalf Piet van Zyl was included ahead of Sarel Pretorius at halfback, after the latter returned from a somewhat disappointing season with the Waratahs in Super Rugby.
Davon Raubenheimer will start at eight, with the impressive Lappies Labuschagne and Johann Prinsloo making up the rest of the loose trio.
With Coenie Oosthuizen still out with injury, and WP Nel headed to Edinburgh to further his career, the Cheetahs will line up their two young props in Marcel van der Merwe and Trevor Nyakane in the front row, with hooker Hercu Liebenberg joining them up front.
TOYOTA CHEETAHS: Hennie Daniller, Nico Scheepers, Robert Ebersohn (capt), Andries Strauss, Raymond Rhule, Riaan Smit, Piet van Zyl, Davon Raubenheimer, Pieter Labuschagne, Johann Prinsloo, Izak van der Westhuizen, Waltie Vermeulen, Marcel van der Merwe, Hercu Liebenberg, Trevor Nyakane.
Replacements: Elandre Huggett, Schalk van der Merwe, Francois uys, Kabamba Floors, Sarel Pretorius, Sias Ebersohn, Philip Snyman