Lions defence coach Jaque Fourie is hopeful Munster deploy Springbok centre Damian de Allende when the teams clash at Ellis Park in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship on Saturday.
The Lions have their tails up after claiming their first URC win of the year and first home victory in the competition against Cardiff last Sunday.
However, they are well aware that Munster will present a different challenge entirely when the Irish side travels to Ellis Park. Coached by Johann van Graan, Munster suffered a narrow defeat by the Vodacom Bulls at Loftus Versfeld but showed enough in that game to keep the Lions wary.
Among Munster’s star players is Springbok centre De Allende, who drove Munster’s fightback against the Bulls after coming off the bench in the second half.
That was De Allende’s first appearance since returning to fitness from a stomach muscle injury and he showed great explosiveness and looked hungry to get stuck into things. If he is picked to start, De Allende would likely be up against youngster Wandisile Simelane in what would be an intriguing midfield battle.
“Damian is a good player, we all know that,” Fourie said in a media conference this week. “In this competition [the URC] you play week in and week out against international players and if you want to be the best, you have to face such guys.
“You want to measure yourself against the best in the world, because that’s how you get better. So, we are looking forward to the challenge and I hope he [De Allende] plays. It will be very good for our players to play against him. ”
While plenty has been made about Munster playing in unfamiliar conditions, Fourie said that it was clear altitude did not affect the travellers.
“Munster is going to be a very different animal [than Cardiff],” he said. “We have seen what they are capable of against the Bulls. If we do not do the basics right, they will punish us.
“They are also a team that played 85 minutes and fought back very strongly against the Bulls, so we will have to be vigilant. They play at a high pace, within a good structure, and it was clear that the altitude was not a factor in that game. ”
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