Exciting Isuzu Southern Kings flyhalf, Bader Pretorius, will get his first starting berth when the side takes on Munster Rugby in a Guinness PRO14 Round 15 match at the Irish Independent Park in Cork on Friday.
The 21-year-old Pretorius made his debut for the Isuzu Southern 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 Isuzu Southern Kings strip after also being a substitute a fortnight ago against Toyota Cheetahs.
The experienced Berton Klaasen will be on Pretorius’ 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 XV in the place of the suspended CJ Velleman at openside flanker.
The rest of the starting XV 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 encounter, the Isuzu Southern Kings have adjusted well to conditions since arriving in Ireland on Tuesday.
“It was a long travel – about 26 hours of travelling – but it was good,” Captain, JC Astle, said on Thursday.
“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 2 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 champs, 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 clinical, 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. Getting a good start. 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.”
The match between the Isuzu Southern Kings and Munster will kick-off at 21h35.
Isuzu Southern Kings
15 Masixole Banda
14 Yaw Penxe
13 Meli Rokoua
12 Berton Klaasen
11 Bjorn Basson
10 Bader Pretorius
9 Stefan Ungerer
1 Schalk Ferreira
2 Michael Willemse
3 De-Jay Terblanche
4 Andries Van Schalkwyk
5 John-Charles Astle (C)
6 Stephan De Wit
7 Martinus Burger
8 Ruaan Lerm
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