Mike Willemse ready to take on his old Southern Kings team-mates
WITH Stuart McInally expected to be out of action for a couple of weeks due to the blow to the ribs he suffered during last Saturday’s 1872 Cup success over Glasgow Warriors, Mike Willemse is at short-odds to start against the Southern Kings at Murrayfield this coming Saturday night – and the 26-year is expecting a bit of needle from his former team-mates.
“I’m looking forward to it, those boys will be gunning for me but I’m looking forward to the challenge, it should be quite a nice one,” said Willemse, who joined Edinburgh from the Kings last summer, and believes the South African side has made significant strides this season despite the fact that they currently prop up Conference B of the PRO14 with just one win from seven outings so far.
“They’ve really been working hard,” he insisted. “I’ve been speaking to a couple of the boys and they have definitely put some decent systems in place, and the bigger picture is turning into a positive thing with their first away win against the Ospreys [at the start of November]. I think they will be pretty happy about that and take that into this game.
“Looking at last year, the way that Kings beat Edinburgh back in Port Elizabeth, we will have to be on our A-game. We can’t take any games lightly and we will go into this one with a strong mindset.”
While Willemse, who has been an ever-present in Edinburgh’s PRO14 match-day squad this season, will enjoy catching up with a few familiar faces this weekend, he is in absolutely no doubt that he made the right choice to move to Scotland in terms of lifestyle and his rugby development – even if the weather takes some getting used to.
“I’ve definitely improved my game since coming here in terms of set-piece, being able to deal with various different situations and whatnot,” he said. “Cockers and the rest of the coaching staff drive a hard forward-pack. They want a strong edge and obviously rely quite a bit on the hookers to get the boys going.
“It’s just been really good for me and my career to be involved in such a good pack. All the work off the field, during the week, is something that I will take with me for the rest of my life.
“It’s a really beautiful city and everyone that has come to visit me has said countless times how badly they would love to live in this city,” he continued. “The people are awesome, and I just love everything about it.
“Obviously, it’s been a bit of a change-up in terms of the weather, but it is what it is.”
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