PREVIEW | Van der Walt: "I'm buzzing to test myself."

Stand-off Jaco van der Walt has played a key role in Edinburgh’s meteoric rise to the Guinness PRO14 Final Series.

The South African-born playmaker has slotted into Edinburgh’s back-line seamlessly since arriving from Johannesburg-based Super Rugby outfit The Lions in November, and now with a Final Series match-up against Irish powerhouse Munster on the horizon, Van der Walt is ‘buzzing’ to get his first taste of play-off rugby.

“I feel very privileged to be playing in the Final Series,” said the stand-off.

“It’s going to be tough. Munster are a very good team; they are very physical and it’s going to be especially mentally tough - but we are prepared. We all know Thomond Park is a tough place to go and perform.

“I’m buzzing. The boys have been smiling this week and there’s a really good feel amongst the camp. Obviously when you’re happy and enjoying it, you play your best rugby.

“Munster are going to be a really strong opponent, but if we stick to our basic disciplines, we will give ourselves every chance of coming away with a positive result.

“Saturday’s match is a brilliant opportunity for me to play in a Quarter Final and test my skills alongside the best the players in the Guinness PRO14.”

Van der Walt has perhaps been fortuitous that his arrival at the club coincided with compatriot Duhan van der Merwe’s breakout season.

The 22-year-old winger has notched up 10 tries since making his Edinburgh debut in November and Van der Walt insists that the prolific scorer has played a pivotal role in his assimilation into Northern Hemisphere rugby.

To be honest, it’s been really easy settling down in Edinburgh. Everyone has made it so easy for me - especially with the fellow South Africans at the club. I’ve really settled into the city and I’m enjoying the change of culture.

“It’s been a great journey for me. The boys are really amazing, and I’ve developed some really good friendships in a short space of time.

“Duhan [Van der Merwe] has done a brilliant shift. As you can all probably see, he is a very confident player and he’s on fire at the moment!”

Van Der Merwe’s scoring exploits were further highlighted in Edinburgh’s victory over Glasgow Warriors last weekend. The winger crossed the whitewash to give his side a crucial lead heading in the break.

And the victory over the Scotstoun outfit will live long in the memory of Van der Walt, who admits that win in front of a packed BT Murrayfield made him ‘feel Scottish’.

“It was a huge win last weekend. I could see how passionate the fans were and how bad they wanted us to beat Glasgow. There were so many positives to take forward from that game into this weekend’s Munster match.

“Last weekend’s win was a great achievement, but we’ve really focused this week and we’re all excited to test ourselves against Munster. We know what to do and what to expect. I can’t wait to get out there.”