Guinness PRO14 is back this weekend with the first of the South African derbies when the Toyota Cheetahs travel to Port Elizabeth to take on the Isuzu Southern Kings on Saturday, 25 January. Kick-off at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium is at 15:30 (SA time). The game will be live on SuperSport 1 and DAZN.
Joseph Dweba and Wilmar Arnoldi switch places with Dweba in the starting line-up. Gerhard Olivier is number eight with Aidon Davids providing cover on the bench.
Tian Schoeman returns to flyhalf. The wings are Anthony Volmink and Clayton Blommetjies with Chris Smit amongst the replacements.
"It doesn't matter if you performed badly in the previous game. Each week is going to be a challenge and you can't take any game for granted. We've trained hard these last two weeks and we tried to rectify our mistakes. Mentally we've made a step-up and we'll try our best to put out a better performance on Saturday." said captain Tian Meyer.
The two sides have had six previous Guinness PRO14 encounters, with the Toyota Cheetahs victorious on each occasion.
Coach Hawies Fourie was less than impressed with his side's performance in their 41-13 shock loss to Zebre early in January but knows they need to win both derbies over the next fortnight to keep their chances of making the playoffs alive.
And while they underestimated Zebre and fell short, Fourie won't be making the same mistake again, especially as historically the games between the two at the Kings' home ground in Nelson Mandela Bay have been historically close.
"I told the players that in the previous three games in Port Elizabeth were close. The scores were 29-20, 21-20 and 24-17. That is what we will encounter, it won't be a 60-20 scoreline," he said.
"If we don't pitch up and play well, then we will be in the same boat as against Zebre. We have worked hard and mentally we know where we are. We know the mistakes we made against Zebre and we will definitely put up a better performance."
"My feeling is the game against the Toyota Cheetahs is the one the Kings are looking forward to for the entire season. If they beat us they will feel they are the best PRO14 side in South Africa. They've improved quite a lot since the start of the competition. We don't underestimate them, but if they do underestimate us then it is okay, I will take that."
Isuzu Southern Kings vs Toyota Cheetahs, Saturday, 25 January, 15:30 (SA time)
1 Boan Venter; 2 Joseph Dweba; 3 Aranos Coetzee; 4 Sintu Manjezi; 5 Walt Steenkamp; 6 Chris Massyn; 7 Junior Pokomela; 8 Gerhard Olivier; 9 Tian Meyer (Captain); 10 Tian Schoeman; 11 Anthony Volmink; 12 Benhard Janse van Rensburg; 13 William Small-Smith; 14 Clayton Blommetjies; 15 Rhyno Smith
16 Wilmar Arnoldi; 17 Erich de Jager; 18 Luan de Bruin; 19 JP du Preez; 20 Aidon Davis; 21 Ruan Pienaar; 22.George Whitehead; 23.Chris Smit.
Players not available: The following players are not eligible for team selection due to injury: Justin Basson (knee) and Charles Marais (bicep), Marnus van der Merwe (knee), Oupa Mohoje (knee). Players on suspension: Dries Swanepoel, Jasper Wiese.
Match officials: The referee for the match is Stuart Berry (SRU,28th Championship game). He will be assisted by Divan Uys and Quintin Immelman (both SARU). The TMO is Johan Greeff (SARU).
Next match: Toyota Cheetahs vs Isuzu Southern Kings, Saturday, 1 February 2020 at 17:00 in Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein.