‘Munster’ of a clash on cards for Kings

It remains to be seen whether an imminent European Champions Cup semifinal against Racing 92 proves to be a distraction for Munster when they face the Southern Kings in George tonight.

The Kings will be hoping that this is the case when they bid to register only their second win in what has proved to be a tough PRO14 debut season.

After a thrilling win over Toulon in Dublin, Munster are gearing up for an explosive Champions Cup semifinal against Racing in Bordeaux on April 21. After their game against the Kings, Munster will play the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein before returning to Europe.

Munster coach Johann van Graan said his team was facing a tough three weeks.

“To play in a quarterfinal, and win it, and fly to South Africa, play two away games in the PRO14 is tough,” Van Graan said. “One is at altitude and then to fly back and go into a European semifinal was always going to be, if you think about it, tough,” he stated.

“Now, it’s a reality. We’ve planned for it, we’ve said we’re going to enjoy the tour. We will get back to zero, play two games there whilst having a big eye back north for when we come back for that semi.”
Van Graan said the heat would be a factor for his team over the next few weeks. “It will be hot and humid in George and high altitude in Bloemfontein. But we will just take it day by day.

“Obviously, we enjoyed the win over Toulon, a massive win for the team and the club. But it’s in the past now, it’s back to PRO14 now, a new challenge in South Africa and we have got some important games coming up.”

Flyhalf Martin du Toit returns to the starting line-up in place of Kurt Coleman, who was ruled out for the rest of the season after fracturing his left leg against Benetton.

Yaw Penxe returns at left wing in place of Alshaun Bock and Michael Makase retains his berth on the opposite flank.

Jacques Nel gets an opportunity to start in the No 12 jersey, switching with Luzuko Vulindlu, who moves to the bench.

Tonight’s teams:

Southern Kings (Nos 15 to 9): Masixole Banda, Michael Makase, Jacques Nel, Berton Klaasen, Yaw Penxe, Martin du Toit, Godlen Masimla. (Nos 1 to 8) Schalk Ferreira (captain), Stephan Coetzee, Pieter Scholtz, Stephan Greeff, Bobby de Wee, Andisa Ntsila, Martinus Burger, Ruaan Lerm. Replacements (Nos 16 to 23): Alandre van Rooyen, Justin Forwood, Luvuyo Pupuma, Lubabalo Mtyanda, Lusanda Badiyana, Rudi van Rooyen, Ntabeni Dukisa, Luzuko Vulindlu.

Munster: (Nos 15 to 9): JJ Hanrahan, Calvin Nash, Dan Goggin, Rory Scannell, Alex Wootton, Ian Keatley, James Hart. (Nos 1 to 8): James Cronin, Niall Scannell, John Ryan, Jean Kleyn, Gerbrandt Grobler, Dave O’Callaghan, Conor Oliver, CJ Stander (captain). Replacements (Nos 16 to 23): Rhys Marshall, Dave Kilcoyne, Brian Scott, Billy Holland, Jack O’Donoghue, Jack Stafford, Stephen Fitzgerald, Robin Copeland. Referee: Lloyd Linton (Scotland).

The match will be shown live on SS5 at 7.30pm