TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Torsten van Jaarsveld will be leading the Cheetahs in their first Super Rugby Encounter of the season on Saturday against the Lions in Bloemfontein.

The team sees a lot of continuity from the side that went through the entire Currie Cup season unbeaten on their way to the title.

However, the Cheetahs are missing their captain and star centre Francois Venter, who is still recovering from an injury.

“I’m satisfied with where we are after the pre-season,” said Cheetahs head coach Franco Smith.

“Everyone trained really hard and we are as prepared as possible. The majority of the players has played Super Rugby and know what the intensity will be like.

Two players in the starting line-up, Justin Basson (lock) and Clinton Swart (centre) will be making their Super Rugby debuts on Saturday.

“The team has more experience than at the start of 2016,” said captain Van Jaarsveld. “We have a lot of strong leaders in the team and I’m looking forward to see how the team has grown.”

Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Nico Lee, 12 Clinton Swart, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Paul Schoeman, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Uzair Cassiem, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Justin Basson, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld (captain), 1 Charles Marais.
Replacements: 16 Elandré Huggett, 17 Danie Mienie, 18 Retshegofaditswe Nche, 19 Francois Uys, 20 Niell Jordaan, 21 Zee Mkhabela, 22 Niel Marais, 23 Ryno Benjamin.

Date: Saturday, February 25
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 15.05 (13.05 GMT)
Referee: Quinton Immelman (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa), Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

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