Monday 23 September 2019

Connacht up to testing conditions

Connacht assistant coach Nigel Carolan. Photo: Sportsfile
Connacht assistant coach Nigel Carolan. Photo: Sportsfile

Declan Rooney

Connacht assistant coach Nigel Carolan has backed his side's fitness as they prepare to face Cheetahs in the baking heat and high altitude of Bloemfontein today.

Temperatures are expected to hit the mid 30s at the Toyota Stadium as Connacht seek a second win of their South African tour following their 31-14 win over Southern Kings, and Carolan believes the team have executed their preparations perfectly.

Connacht lost out to Cheetahs by a single point thanks to a last minute penalty in March, but after spending a week at altitude last time round, Andy Friend's side chose to hone their preparations in the cooler Cape Town climate this time.

"Last weekend it turned cooler for the match, 17 or 18 degrees, which was helpful. But up in the Highveld it will be different," said Carolan.

"We're expecting it to be up mid-30s, once it hits the 30s World Rugby has mandated that there is plenty of water breaks, but we just have to deal with it.

"After the game last season the lads didn't feel their lungs were burned up. While it's different, they are conditioned to play high tempo rugby. The big thing was managing the heat for the week and we could do that in Cape Town."

"Cheetahs have a bigger pack than Kings but are not as mobile. They are dangerous from broken play though," added Carolan.

"It's a similar test, but playing at altitude in that heat will add to it."

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