White also decided to hand the exciting and hard-hitting inside centre Clinton Swart his Vodacom Bulls debut against the Free Staters, whom he represented a few seasons ago.
Vermeulen will start in his familiar No 8 jersey, with Tim Agaba getting a rest this week, while the powerful Johan Grobbelaar gets a starting opportunity in the middle of the scrum between Trevor Nyakane and Jacques van Rooyen.
Embrose Papier replaces his fellow Springbok scrumhalf Ivan van Zyl in the No 9 jersey, while Jade Stighling slots in on the left wing in place of Travis Ismaiel.
Swart’s inclusion means a few tweaks to the Vodacom Bulls’ midfield, with Cornal Hendricks moving to outside centre and Stedman Gans joining Van Zyl on the bench.
Another change to the bench sees U21 star Joe van Zyl set to receive his first senior cap if he is called upon, while Gerhard Steenekamp replaces the injured Lizo Gqoboka, who sustained a calf injury against the Tafel Lager Griquas.
Nizaam Carr is the final change amongst the replacements with the Springbok loose forward coming in for Elrigh Louw.
“We struggled to get going against the Griquas and we cannot afford the same against a strong Cheetahs team,” said White.
“We were fortunate to walk away with last week's win and we need to do better by implementing our style of play in this clash as soon as possible.”
Vodacom Bulls: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 David Kriel, 13 Cornal Hendricks, 12 Clinton Swart, 11 Jade Stighling, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Arno Botha, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Jacques van Rooyen. Replacements: 16 Joe van Zyl, 17 Gerhard Steenekamp, 18 Mornay Smith, 19 Sintu Manjezi, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Stedman Gans.