Two-time World Cup winner Frans Steyn will start at flyhalf for the Cheetahs in their Currie Cup clash against the Pumas in Nelspruit on Friday.
The Cheetahs are losing ground on the top four in the competition in the race for semi-final places and will thus be desperate for a victory to close the gap on the Lions.
No reason was given for the absence of Tian Schoeman at playmaker, leading one to believe that the decision from coach Hawies Fourie was purely tactical.
It is one of several changes from the side that lost to the Lions last weekend.
Marnus van der Merwe comes in at starting hooker with Louis van der Westhuizen providing cover on the bench, the locks are Carl Wegner and Reniel Hugo while Oupa Mohoje takes his place on the substitutes bench on reserve.
In the backline, Ruben de Haas will be the starting scrumhalf with Tian Meyer providing cover while out wide the wings are William Small-Smith and Duncan Saal, with Saal making his Currie Cup debut for the Cheetahs.
Howard Mnisi and Dries Swanepoel are the two centers while both Rhyno Smith and Chris Massyn are new to the bench.
Kick-off on Friday is at 19:30.
15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Duncan Saal, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 William Small-Smith, 10 Frans Steyn, 9 Ruben de Haas, 8 Jeandre Rudolph, 7 Aidon Davis, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Carl Wagner (captain), 3 Khutha Mchunu, 2 Marnus van der Merwe, 1 Boan Venter
Substitutes: 16 Louis van der Westhuizen, 17 Cameron Dawson, 18 Erich de Jager, 19 Oupa Mohoje, 20 Chris Massyn, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Reinhardt Fortuin, 23 Rhyno Smith