Lukhanyo Am believes playing French teams in France more often is a “learning curve” for the Springboks on what to expect at this year’s World Cup in the country.
The Bok centre started for the Sharks when they became the first SA team to book a place in the last eight of the Champions Cup with a 50-35 win over Munster in Durban last week, and on Saturday, he is in line to face five-time champions Toulouse at Stade Mayol.
The Boks kick off their title defence in France in September, and may possibly face the hosts in the knockout stages.
“The Champions Cup is a massive competition. I think for the majority of us it’s our first season in the cup,” Am told media in the lead up to the quarter-final between the Sharks and Toulouse in France.
“And going to France will give us the feel of how it would be or might be playing a hosting nation or French team in their home ground. And getting the feel of the game from the crowds.
“It will be a learning curve in a way, but we are not looking too far ahead. We are going there to do a job and we will take it from there.”
The Sharks are the only SA team in the Champions Cup to have won in France, beating Bordeaux in the pool stages of the tournament, but Am expects an even tougher challenge from Toulouse.
He added: “There’s a lot of excitement in the group about going there to play a good French side in their home ground.
“[The win against Bordeaux] gives us confidence, but it was still earlier on in the season and now it’s pressured games, playoffs rugby and once again travelling away from home.
“I think as a side we do have the history of travelling well and I think going to Toulouse to play quarter-finals there will be a great challenge for us.”
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) April 8, 2023
Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix