Any hopes of a dramatic return for Heinrich Brüssow have been squashed, meaning the Cheetahs will retain their winning formula for the last match of the season.
The men from Bloemfontein head to Johannesburg on Saturday to take on the resurgent Lions – a team looking to end their season with a three-match winning streak.
However, the Cheetahs will be without star the Springbok flank, Brüssow, who also missed last weekend’s 27-20 win over the Sharks due a groin injury.
“Heins will undergo groin surgery and will not play,” Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské said, ahead of his team’s trip to Ellis Park.
“He went for a follow-up visit and it was decided it is best that he undergoes surgery.”
With Brüssow now heading back to Japan, it means he may well have played his last game for the Cheetahs when he featured for them against the Stormers back on 24 May – as no formal agreement has been reached for his return from the Docomo Red Hurricanes in 2015.
Drotské said that although there were “a few niggles” in the team, following the win over the Sharks, they will field the same matchday 23 as last week.
Drotské was, understandably, not keen to get involved in ongoing speculation around player movements, but the Cheetahs are set to lose a host of his team’s senior players.
Most recently frontline players like Pieter Labuschagne (Bulls and Sharks), Trevor Nyakane (Stormers or Bulls) and captain Adriaan Strauss (Bulls) have been linked to moves away from Bloemfontein.
Players’ whose departure have been confirmed include Johan Goosen (to Racing Metro in France), Hennie Daniller (Zebre in Italy), Riaan Smit (Oyonnax in France), Rynhard Landman (Newport Gwent Dragons), Nick Schonert (Worcester Warriors), Kevin Luiters (EP Kings) and Andries Ferreira (Zebre).
Recent media reports have linked Lions fullback Coenie van Wyk (on loan from the Pumas), Lions flyhalf Willie du Plessis and Lions prop Jacobus Roux to moves to Bloemfontein.
Toyota Cheetahs: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Ryno Benjamin, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Adriaan Strauss (Captain), 1 Trevor Nyakane
Replacements: 16 Caylib Oosthuizen, 17 Luan de Bruin, 18 Carl Wegner, 19 Jean Cook, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Shaun Venter, 22 Elgar Watts, 23 Hennie Daniller.
Date: Saturday 12 July
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Kick-Off: 17:05 SA Time (15:05 GMT)
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Referees: Stuart Berry, Jaco van Heerden
TMO: Shaun Veldsman