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October 05, 2017

Fitness could be key

Posted by Editor on October 5, 2017 08:53 PM | No comments | Print | E-mail author

Fraser Brown is back in action after an ankle injury
Fitness could be key when Warriors take on Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, according to Fraser Brown.

The Toyota Stadium is 1,400m above sea level, with the reduced oxygen levels often tiring for players not used to the conditions, but Fraser is confident that Warriors will be able to outlast their South African hosts.

Fraser told BBC Scotland: "We won't adapt our game-plan. We pride ourselves on being one of, if not the fittest team in the league."

The Scotland hooker returned to action from the bench against Benetton last week and makes his first start of the season against Cheetahs on Friday.

Fraser continued: "The altitude will challenge us to a certain extent, we know that, but we also know we've got the players, the stamina, the fitness to be able to go and play 80 minutes wherever we are.

"Traditionally, Cheetahs have maybe fallen off in the last quarter of games with their fitness so it's something we are looking to exploit, to play that high tempo game to try and tire them out.

"We don't really see the altitude as a major factor. We know it's going to be tough, but everything is tough on a rugby pitch. It's just one of those mental battles you have to get your head around before you go on the pitch."

Warriors have been based in Johannesburg since Sunday, flying to Bloemfontein on Thursday for a team run at the Toyota Stadium before Friday's match.

Fraser says the week in South Africa has brought the squad, which saw a big turnover of players in the summer, closer together.

"On away trips we're usually together for a day or two and you head out for the odd coffee or whatever. But it's been really good here, a chance to get to know a lot of the boys and just bond really as a squad.

"With some of our new signings and the coaches not coming in until the end of pre-season, we never really got that opportunity during July and August so it's nice to have a mini-tour now.

"It's a first experience for a lot of us travelling such a great distance to a play a game in a week, so it will be a big test for us.

"If we could go six from six to start the season, we couldn't have asked for any better, particularly because we haven't really hit our straps yet."