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Cheetahs

The Central Cheetahs, known for sponsorship reasons as the Toyota Cheetahs, is a South African SupeRugby franchise that entered the competition in 2006. The franchise area encompasses the Free State and Northern Cape.

In terms of Currie Cup unions, the Cheetahs draw from Free State Cheetahs, Northern Free State Griffons and Griquas. They play home games at Vodacom Park in Bloemfontein and GWK Park in Kimberley. The current Cheetahs captain is Juan Smith.

The Cheetahs was one of the two new franchises that entered the expanded Super 14 competition in 2006, the other being Australia's Western Force. The Central Union was awarded the fifth South African franchise over the SEC franchise in April 2005. In its first season the Cheetahs did surprisingly well, finishing tenth in the final standings, out of 14 sides.

Prior to being accepted into the 2006 Super 14 season, the Cheetahs areas were represented as a part of the Cats franchise. In addition, before South Africa entered franchises into the Super 14, the Free State Currie Cup side competed in the 1997 Super 12 season.

The Cheetahs' home stadium is the Free State Stadium, also referred to as Vodacom Park for sponsorship purposes, located in Bloemfontein. The stadium had its capacity upgraded to 48,000 for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The stadium is the home of Free State rugby as it is also home to the Free State Cheetahs, a Currie Cup side which produces a large number of players for the Cheetahs franchise. Matches are also played at GWK Park in Kimberley, home of the Griqualand West Rugby Union. In 2010 the Cheetahs played a game in Welkom.

A capacity crowd of 37,383 watched the Cheetahs in their first official Super 14 match against the Bulls on 10 February 2006.