Cheetahs next up for Munster in South Africa

Minster kicked off their tour of South Africa with a 31-20 win over the Southern Kings in the Pro14 last Saturday.

Speaking to the media after the game, Munster Head Coach Johann van Graan reflected on the journey prior to his side’s bonus point victory.

“You can’t underestimate the travel. We had a bus trip from Limerick to Dublin, flew to Doha, flew to Johannesburg, and flew to Port Elizabeth and we had six days to acclimatise to South African rugby temperatures.”

Tries from Mike Haley, Alby Mathewson, Fineen Wycherley and Arno Botha secured a second bonus point victory for his side, following on from their first round victory over the Dragons at Thomond Park just two weeks ago.

Guinness PRO14, Nelson Mandela Bay, Port Elizabeth, South Africa 05/10/2019 Isuzu Southern Kings vs Munster Munster’s Mike Haley on his way to scoring a try Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Richard Huggard

New signing Jed Holloway made his Munster debut off the bench, while Liam O’Connor made his first start since December following a lengthy layoff due to injury.

Munster winger Shane Daly bagged himself another Man of the Match award for his second game in a row after another lively performance, while out half JJ Hanrahan maintained a 100% kicking record throughout the game by adding 11 points with the boot.

Something of greater concern aside from the positive result was the injury sustained by Munster back row Chris Cloete which has seen ruled out for the rest of the trip.

As a result of Cloete’s injury and departure, Jack O’Sullivan has been called into the squad.

Guinness PRO14, Nelson Mandela Bay, Port Elizabeth, South Africa 05/10/2019 Isuzu Southern Kings vs Munster Jack O’Donoghue of Munster Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Richard Huggard

O’Sullivan was a standout player for Ireland U-20s during the 2018 Six Nations and made his Munster senior debut in the recent pre-season friendly against London Irish where he scored a try.

He has joined up with the squad in Johannesburg, where the squad have been based since Thursday before moving on to Bloemfontein ahead of the Cheetahs game on Friday.

As for the Cheetahs, the 2019 Currie Cup champions beat Ulster last week comprehensively on a scoreline of 63-26 at home in Toyota Stadium.

Cheetahs winger Anthony Volmink ran rings around the Ulster defence that resulted in a hat-trick of tries on route to a 37-point win in front of their home fans.

Guinness PRO14, Nelson Mandela Bay, Port Elizabeth, South Africa 5/10/2019 Arno Botha of Munster scores a try Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Richard Huggard

The Cheetahs free-flowing style of Rugby this season has gotten them plenty of tries and two bonus-point victories from two games in this season’s Pro14 competition.

Van Graan is well aware of the dangers the Cheetahs possess in preparation for Friday’s clash at Toyota Stadium:

“They are a team on form and have been excellent in the Currie Cup. In the Pro14 so far they have dispatched Glasgow and Ulster comfortably at home, and hopefully, we can learn from those games.”

Without a doubt this will be one of Munster’s toughest away trips on their calendar when they take to the field in Bloemfontein at altitude.

This Munster side with a blend of youth and experience will need to put in a clinical performance if they want to come away with two wins from two.

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