MUNSTER – Exciting Southern Kings flyhalf, Bader Pretorius, will get his first starting berth when the side takes on Munster Rugby in a Pro14 match at the Irish Independent Park in Cork, Ireland, on Friday (start 9.35pm).
The 21-year-old Pretorius made his debut for the Kings from the bench in the team’s 25-21 victory over Edinburgh Rugby last month, and will this week play in his third match in the strip after also being a replacement a fortnight ago against the Cheetahs.
The experienced Berton Klaasen will be on Pretorius’s outside, as the centre returns to the starting XV to pair up with Fijian Meli Rokoua in the midfield.
In the forwards pack, loose-forward Stephan de Wit also makes a return to the starting team in the place of the suspended CJ Velleman at openside flanker.
The rest of the starting team remains the same as the side that faced the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein in the narrow 36-40 defeat.
Following a day’s travel from Port Elizabeth to Cork earlier in the week ahead of Friday night’s encounter, the Kings have adjusted well to conditions since arriving in Ireland on Tuesday.
Captain JC Astle said: “It was a long trip – about 26 hours of travelling – but it was good. We managed to get a lot of training done last week, and on Monday before we left Port Elizabeth where we focused on the things we want to do against Munster.
“We had rain in PE on Monday which prepared us for the conditions in Ireland. We are experiencing some cold weather in Ireland, between two and 10 degrees.
"We have had no rain so far, but underfoot it is quite wet, but we are adjusting to get the feel of what it will be like on Friday night.”
The side is expecting a tough encounter against a strong Munster side that leads Conference A at the moment.
A win for the South African side will boost their confidence for the remainder of the three-week tour which includes matches against defending champions, Leinster, and Welsh side, Cardiff Blues.
“Munster is a very clinical side and are on top of Conference A, so we are expecting a hard match with good players who know how to do their job,” added Astle.
“The aim of the tour, after we have had a few good games in the past few weeks, is to improve on that. It will be nice to go into the last two matches of the tour with heightened confidence and giving stern competition to some good teams.”
15 Masixole Banda, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Meli Rokoua, 12 Berton Klaasen, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Bader Pretorius, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Martinus Burger, 6 Stephan de Wit, 5 JC Astle (captain), 4 Andries van Schalkwyk, 3 De-Jay Terblanche, 2 Michael Willemse, 1 Schalk Ferreira
Replacements: 16 Alandre Van Rooyen, 17 Alulutho Tshakweni, 18 Pieter Scholtz, 19 Stephan Greeff, 20 Andisa Ntsila, 21 Sarel Pretorius, 22 Tertius Kruger, 23 Ulrich Beyers.
African News Agency (ANA)