30-year-old centre Howard Mnisi returns to the Toyota Cheetahs after previously playing for the franchise in Super Rugby. Mnisi was at the Cheetahs in 2013/14 while still contracted at the Griquas, but enjoyed limited playing time for the Bloemfontein-based team.

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After leaving the Cheetahs, Mnisi, played for the Lions between 2015 and 2018. He joined the Southern Kings in 2019, but due to injuries he also enjoyed limited game time at the PRO14 franchise. During his time at the Isuzu Southern Kings, Mnisi played 6 matches and scored one try.

During Mnisi’s previous stint at the Cheetahs, the current head coach, Hawies Fourie, was an assistant to Naka Drotské.

In 2016 Mnisi was named in the South Africa ‘A’ squad for the two-match series against the English Saxons. He was named in the starting XV for the first match in Bloemfontein, and a week later he was on the bench for the second game which was played in George.

Mnisi starts at Toyota Cheetahs on 1 July on a two-year contract. Last week the Cheetahs signed Jeandré Rudolph on a two year deal.

The 26-year-old loose forward can play anywhere in the back row, and his play is tailor-made for the Cheetahs brand of rugby. He is solid in defence and over the ball.

“I am very excited to get the opportunity to move to Bloem and join the Cheetahs from the end of the year.” said Rudolph.

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“The Cheetahs have been good over the last couple of years, winning the Currie Cup last year and performing well in the PRO14. That made my decision to join them a lot easier.”

Rudolph is a product of Hoër Landbouskool Oakdale and he played his junior rugby for the SWD Eagles before heading to Potchefstroom to study.

In 2016 Rudolph captained the North-West University Pukke to their first and only Varsity Cup title when they beat the University of Stellenbosch Maties 7-6 in Coetzenburg. Other Toyota Cheetah players who started for the Pukke in the final are Rhyno Smith, Benhard Janse van Rensburg, Walt Steenkamp and Wilmar Arnoldi.

In 2018 Rudolph joined the Pumas and in that year they beat the Griquas 32-30 in Oudtshoorn in the final of the SuperSport Rugby Challenge. Rudolph was named as the man of the match in the final.

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In 2020 he joined the Bulls on loan from the Pumas and played in Super Rugby for the Pretoria-based franchise.

“I got a little bit of experience at the Bulls in Super Rugby. I really enjoyed my time down in Pretoria, but I think that this is a great new opportunity for me to play against the best Europe has to offer week-in, week-out.”

“I am very excited and keen to get going. There are a lot of quality players at the Cheetahs, and with Frans (Steyn) and them all going there it is very exciting. I can’t wait.”

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