Alun Wyn Jones was a second half replacement against Benetton Rugby

Pro14: Cheetahs v OspreysDate: Friday, 29 September Venue: Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein Kick-off: 16:00 BSTCoverage: Live on BBC Two Wales, BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app. Highlights later online and on Scrum V on Sunday

Ospreys have made four changes to their starting line-up for Friday afternoon’s visit to Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

Alun Wyn Jones will captain the side for the 100th time as he makes his first start of the season, replacing Bradley Davies in the second row.

There are two changes in the back row, Guy Mercer coming in for Justin Tipuric and James King replacing Dan Baker.

Wing Raymond Rhule is released by the Springboks and is Cheetahs’ only change from their over Leinster.

Ospreys become the first Welsh region to play in South Africa hoping to end a run of three consecutive defeats in the Pro14.

Their poor start to the new season follows a disappointing end to the 2016-17 campaign when they lost five of their final six matches in the tournament.

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Cheetahs v Ospreys: Welsh side acclimatise in South Africa for Pro14 game

Newcomers Cheetahs were heavily beaten in their opening two matches but have shown themselves to be a much tougher proposition at home, beating Zebre then Leinster and picking up bonus points in both games.

Ospreys’ in Treviso came in spite of them dominating possession and territory, but the selection of wing Jay Baker for his first Pro14 start on the wing ahead of Jeff Hassler is the only change behind the scrum.

One of the changes in the back row is enforced with Wales and British and Irish Lions flanker Justin Tipuric returning home to be with his partner who is expecting a child.

Another Lion, flanker Dan Lydiate, is among the replacements having made just one appearance since being injured playing for Wales last November.

“There’s no doubt that we’re going to have to be considerably better than we were last weekend, or have been so far this season,” said coach Steve Tandy.

“We expect better from ourselves as Ospreys. Talk is pretty easy though and means nothing if we don’t follow it up on the field.

“That’s pretty obvious and it’s fair to say we need to do more than just talk a good game, we need to deliver for 80 minutes when it matters.”

Cheetahs: Sergeal Petersen; Raymond Rhule, Francois Venter (Captain), William Small-Smith, Makazole Mapimpi; Ernst Stapelberg, Tian Meyer; Charles Marais, Torsten van Jaarsveld, Tom Botha, Justin Basson, Reniel Hugo, Paul Schoeman, Henco Venter, Oupa Mohoje.

Replacements: Jacques du Toit, Ox Nche, Johan Coetzee, Rynier Bernardo, Junior Pokomela, Shaun Venter, Nico Lee, Rosco Specman.

Ospreys: Dan Evans; Keelan Giles, Ben John, James Hook, Jay Baker; Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb; Nicky Smith, Scott Baldwin, Ma’afu Fia, Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones (capt), Olly Cracknell, Guy Mercer, James King.

Replacements: Scott Otten, Gareth Thomas, Rhodri Jones, Lloyd Ashley, Dan Lydiate, Tom Habberfield, Sam Davies, Kieron Fonotia

Referee: Frank Murphy (Ireland)

Assistant referees: George Clancy (Ireland), Cwengile Jadezweni (South Africa)

TMO: Johan Greef (South Africa).


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