Coach Dwayne Peel says Scarlets will have to match the Sharks’ physicality while also containing the likes of Makazole Mapimpi when the two sides clash in Durban on Friday.
Scarlets will have the privilege of becoming the first northern-hemisphere side to play in South Africa in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship when they face the Sharks at Kings Park.
The match was originally scheduled to take place in November, but was among the home games against the European franchises that were postponed due to travel restrictions on South Africa.
This time, Scarlets have had no issues with settling into their base for the week in Durban and are looking forward to the much-anticipated game.
Speaking during an online media conference on Wednesday, Scarlets coach Peel outlined a few of the threats posed by the Sharks.
“Obviously, they are a star-studded team. If you look at their team, there are a lot of Springbok internationals,” Peel said. “Physicality is something that is taken for granted here. If you don’t turn up with good physicality then you will be in trouble. What the Sharks have in abundance as well is pace out wide. The back-three players they have are able to hurt you with speed.
“It’s going to be a case of having to match physicality first and foremost. That’s the starting point for us. Then it’s about limiting opportunities for those outside backs because we know they are dangerous. We have to be clinical and disciplined with the way we play and take our opportunities when they come.
“The weather is going to be hot and humid here. The ground is going to be hard, which suits our guys as well. So, we are looking forward to it.”
Peel hailed the arrival of the four South African teams in the URC.
“I think it’s great for the competition. We’ve grown up watching Super Rugby from years ago and you see the names synonymous with that competition. Now you can get Scarlets playing against the Sharks, which is huge for both teams. For us, it’s a great opportunity.”
Wing Steff Evans, one of the Wales internationals who have travelled down with Scarlets, said he is keen to test himself against a wing of the calibre of World Cup-winner Mapimpi.
“I am excited, obviously. You go into every game excited. You don’t really want to go into the game as underdogs. For me, playing against players like that is just really exciting.”
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