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Bulls flyhalf Smith against ‘world class’ De Allende as Munster visits Loftus



A visit to Ireland’s URC team Munster may be without some of their Irish internationals, but they remain a world-class team, warned Bulls pivot Chris Smith, ahead of Saturday’s clash between the two sides at Loftus Versfeld ( kick-off 4.05 pm).

The visitors are touring South Africa without at least nine of their players joining Ireland for Saturday’s Six Nations game against England, but there are still some familiar faces in the Irish squad’s lineup.

“I know most of the Irish internationals are gone but there are a few guys with international caps who are not with the Irish squad at the moment,” Smith said ahead of Saturday’s game.

“They are definitely a world class outfit and have had a good run of recent results, hammering a few sides along the way. A tough challenge awaits us this weekend.”

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One of Munster’s key players on tour will be an international of a different kind, World Cup winning Springbok center Damian de Allende. He has just returned from a stomach injury and is part of the squad along with two other South Africans, Jean Kleyn and Chris Cloete.

“The Allende is a world-class number 12. So that [his return from injury] the dynamics will change, and we’re going to have to be at our best if we’re going to beat Munster,” said Smith.

“He is a great ball carrier and at the same time he has great feet and an incredible pass.”

The 27-year-old flyhalf is enjoying the chance to test himself against some of the best players in the business in the URC as he replaces the suspended Morne Steyn and Johan Goosen is injured. This weekend will be no different, he thinks.

“What you want is to constantly play against international opposition,” he said. “And for me this weekend will be a good challenge and a great opportunity to measure myself against one of the best flying halves, like Jack Crowley, in the URC.”

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The Bulls are hoping the altitude and heat in the capital will play in their favor against the traveling Irish side on Saturday.

“We always see when the coastal sides come to Loftus Versfeld that they are fighting with the height. We hope this weekend the sun will shine to play,” said Smith.

“We will start at 4:05 pm and hopefully the sun is boiling and that is more to our advantage along with the altitude.”

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