Macauley Cook is gearing himself up for a fast and furious clash at the Welsh capital, as Toyota Cheetahs visit the Cardiff Arms Park for the first time on Saturday (KO 7.35pm)
Danny Wilson’s side are set to take on the Bloemfontein-based outfit in a crucial Guinness PRO14 fixture, with Cardiff Blues looking to put pressure on their opponents, who currently occupy a play-off spot in Conference A.
Cheetahs have the PRO14’s leading try scorer, Makazole Mapimpi, in their ranks but Cook insists the Blues will look to exploit Cheetah’s open gameplan, as they look to gain a foothold in the fight for European qualification.
“We’ve been looking at how they play this week and it’s a bit crazy if I’m being honest,” said the utility forward.
“It’s not what we’re used to seeing, they look to take quick line-outs from anywhere and they like to play off turnovers.
“Week-in, week-out we’re used to coming up against much more structured sides, but Cheetah’s style of rugby is what you’d expect from a South African, former Super Rugby, team.
“They can score tries from anywhere on the field, but there’s also some chaos in defence and we think we can exploit that with our game.
“They play from anywhere and it’s nice to have something a little bit different in the Championship.
“It’s been an intense training week, but now we’re looking forward to Saturday and hopefully we’ll get the all-important result.
“We’ve got four games coming up now and three of those are at home so it’s a massive period for us. If we can get momentum going in the PRO14, then hopefully we can start climbing the table and get into a position we can be proud of.
“We’ve got the strength in depth in this squad to deal with this intense period and get some good results.”
Cook was part of the Cardiff Blues side who toured South Africa as part of pre-season preparations in 2012.
They came up against Cheetahs at Bloemfontein during the tour, clinching a 32-31 victory, with Cook crossing the whitewash, alongside Tom James, Chris Czekaj and Owen Williams.
The former Wales Under-20 captain has fond memories of the 10 days spent in South Africa, and is looking forward to more of the same when his side head over to the Rainbow Nation in April.
Cook said: :It was a really good experience for me. I was young and we went over there for a week of pre-season. We played in Bloemfontein, which was an eye-opener as a place.
“We played at altitude so it was hard to get your breath in training and then it was a bit mad on the lungs during the game.
“I remember it was a fast paced game, but we came away with a win, which made the experience even better.
“That was a great experience but now I’m just looking forward to playing against Cheetahs again on Saturday and hopefully we can secure the same result again.
“I’m looking forward to potentially going over there again later in the season. It’s a beautiful country and it would be nice to see some different parts, while also heading over to play good rugby.”