Prop Mornay Smith is expecting a physical battle when the Vodacom Bulls take on Saracens in their opening fixture of the 2023-24 Champions Cup on Saturday.
Smith expressed satisfaction with the Bulls’ impressive start to the season but is under no illusion as to the magnitude of the task they face against the three-time Champions Cup winners.
The Bulls begin their second campaign at Loftus Versfeld, determined to improve upon their round-of-16 exit at the hand of Toulouse last season.
Facing Saracens, and the unique challenge they pose, Smith anticipates a stern challenge from a team laden with Test players.
“Something different, we haven’t played against them ever so we are definitely expecting something different,” said Smith.
Saracens, currently sitting fourth in the English Premiership, boast players such as Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje, Billy Vunipola and former Bulls scrumhalf Ivan van Zyl.
“They are a very strong squad, with a few international players, so you have to front up against them,” Smith said. “They like the physical battle, but mainly we have been focusing on our set-piece, which will be very important for us.
“We have done our homework on them, but we don’t know if they will stick to their game plan because they also have never played here. It’s a seven o’clock game, so we won’t have the heat but we will still have the altitude.”
Smith credits Jake White’s management for the team’s success and their outstanding performances.
“Yes, we have incredible depth within the team at the moment that we haven’t had in previous years. The second guy that plays should be as good as the first guy, they both should have the work rate, play the exact same game plan.
“So with rotating players, coach Jake has done really well.”
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