Cheetahs confident despite weather shock
Hot weather here stifles South African outfit, but Uys and Co. vow to put on good show
Francois Uys probably did not expect the welcome he got when he arrived in Singapore yesterday morning.
"It's my first time in Singapore and the first thing I noticed was the weather," the 29-year-old captain of South African Sanzar Super Rugby outfit Toyota Cheetahs said with a wry smile.
"It was quite hot when we stepped out of the airport."
The Cheetahs take on Japanese side Hito-Com Sunwolves in a Super Rugby game tomorrow, in the first of three matches set to be played at the National Stadium as part of a an agreement between the Singapore Rugby Union and their Japan counterparts.
Cheetahs coach Franco Smith added: "We're used to quite warm weather but it's really dry here, so it's nice and humid over here.
"It's definitely something different than what we're used to."
The heat was not the only thing that has stifled Smith and his charges.
The team also had to endure a 10-hour flight to get here, but former Springbok Smith insists he does not want to make a big deal of the team's acclimatising issues.
"(A 10-hour flight) sounds really long, but it's not that bad," said the 43-year-old.
"We've travelled to Perth and then to Sydney and then down to Auckland, sometimes you end up with one or two days of travel.
"So this is a reasonably short trip.
"We're not making a big thing of it, because if you do, it becomes a distraction.
"The main thing, from my experience and I've been involved in Super Rugby since 1995, is not making a big thing about acclimatising. If you keep concentrating on your plan and what you can do, then the other factors' influence become less."
Both the Cheetahs and Sunwolves are eyeing their first win of the 2016 Super Rugby season tomorrow.
The South African outfit lost their first game to new Argentinian franchise Jaguares 34-33 on Feb 26 and the second game 20-10 to South Africa's top team Stormers, a week later.
The Sunwolves, another newly formed side, lost 26-13 to another South African team Emirates Lions in the first round of matches and did not play in the second.
Smith warned his charges of a backlash from the Japanese team.
"Sunwolves are a quality side and they're really well coached," he said.
"From (pre-season) to the Lions game, they already made a big step-up.
"So I expect them to have worked really hard the last two weeks and make another step-up this week.
"It's going to be very difficult and tough game, if we concentrate on what they bring.
"That's why I make a big emphasis on our style and the way we play."
Uys, who said his team's priority is to get the first win on the board, also urged local rugby fans to come down and watch the two teams in action.
"Cheetahs are known for running rugby, exciting play, ball in hand," he said.
"Always high scoring, always entertaining. Sunwolves are a quality side as well and, hopefully, we can put up a good show for the crowd."
Smith added: "We always go out to play with three objectives. First, to play a beautiful brand of rugby, something that is good to watch.
"Second, a brand of rugby that excites the fans. You'll see the word 'heart' on the side of our shirts and we always play with our hearts on our sleeves.
"Lastly, we want to win as much as we can."