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Rugby | Vodacom Super Rugby

Watts to start for Cheetahs

Flyhalf Elgar Watts will get his first start for the Toyota Cheetahs this season after being included in the starting line-up for the side's Vodacom Super Rugby clash against the Reds on Saturday.

Watts played a big role as an impact player in the Cheetahs' loss to the Hurricanes last week, looking fresh on attack and kicking accurately at goal, something that Burton Francis had been struggling with the last couple of weeks.

Francis was left out altogether when Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske named his team on Wednesday, with Riaan Smit coming in as back-up on the replacements bench.

"In the pre-season, Elgar was actually our number two at flyhalf behind Johan Goosen, with Riaan Smit our third choice," Drotske said.

"Burton got his chance when there was a lot of injuries and he did a really good job.

"At this stage we've decided to go for the more attacking option which is definitely Elgar. With Johan Goosen out he is our best attacking flyhalf."

The Cheetahs were holding out for flanker Lappies Labuschagne, who was included in the side pending a fitness test later in the week, after he picked up an elbow injury against the Kings three weeks ago.

Frans Viljoen, who started against the Hurricanes, was left out of the squad this week, with Boom Prinsloo added to the bench.

"Lappies has been practising but there wasn't a lot of contact involved," Drotske said.

"We are going to give him time to see how his elbow reacts and will only make a final decision on his availability at the captain's practice on Friday.

"If Lappies is not fit to play, Boom will move into the starting line-up and Frans will come in on the bench."

Toyota Cheetahs team: Hennie Daniller, Willie le Roux, Johann Sadie, Robert Ebersohn, Raymond Rhule, Elgar Watts, Piet van Zyl, Philip van der Walt, Lappies Labuschagne, Heinrich Brussow, Francois Uys, Lood de Jager, Lourens Adriaanse, Adriaan Strauss (capt), Coenie Oosthuizen.

Replacements: Ryno Barnes, Trevor Nyakane, Ligtoring Landman, Boom Prinsloo, Sarel Pretorius, Riaan Smit, Rayno Benjamin.


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