Damian de Allende, Chris Cloete, Jean Kleyn and CJ Stander are all available for selection for Munster when they face Leinster in the PRO14 final on Saturday.
As back-to-back-to-back defending champions, having won in 2018, 2019 and 2020, Leinster are odds-on favourites to reclaim the championship title. If that scenario does play out as widely predicted, Leinster will have been crowned competition champions in six of the last nine seasons dating back to 2013.
But standing between them and another title success is an 80-minute battle against a high-flying Munster side coached by former Springbok assistant Johann van Graan.
Munster last won the title back in 2011 and they haven’t advanced to the final since 2017, when they were still playing under Rassie Erasmus, months before Van Graan took charge.
An upset win for Munster would not only hand them a first title in a decade, but would have the club draw level with the Ospreys on four overall championships, joint-second most behind Leinster’s seven title wins.
Heading into the final at RDS Arena in Dublin, though, Munster carry all the momentum as they arrive on a six-match winning streak. By contrast, Leinster will enter the final in the aftermath of a shock defeat by the Ospreys, a result which ended their seven-game winning run in this competition.
Munster has a quality-laden squad, none more so than its South African contingent in the form of De Allende, Cloete, Kleyn and Stander.
De Allende has featured in 13 of the 16 games played so far this season and has made eight clean breaks, completed seven offloads, made 74 carries over 261 metres, boasts a 85% tackle success rate and has won four turnovers. While he hasn’t been flashy, the statistics underline his importance and the influential role he plays in Munster’s search for that ever-elusive title success.
Another one of Van Graan’s star performers is Cloete. He has also played in the second half of the season due to injury, but Cloete ranks first for the number of turnovers won (14) and has a tackle success rate of 93%.
Similarly, Kleyn and Stander have also played key roles in helping Munster get to the final. Van Graan will now call on his fellow South African imports to get them past Leinster and over the winning line to claim the coveted PRO14 championship.
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