Dai Young is relishing the challenge ahead as Cardiff Rugby gear up for back-to-back United Rugby Championship encounters in South Africa.
The Blue and Blacks arrived in Cape Town on Sunday and have quickly got to work in preparation for the Emirates Lions and DHL Stormers.
Cardiff take on the Lions in Johannesburg on Sunday, before returning to Cape Town. They have already faced South African opposition twice this season, narrowly losing to Vodacom Bulls before overcoming Cell C Sharks.
And Young is expecting a similar physical challenge but with even greater ferocity on African soil.
“You don’t have to be too bright to know what’s coming your way. South African rugby teams tend to play similar ways, it’s all about physicality.
“in the first half against the Bulls we showed how to play with pace, tempo and how to take the game to them.
“To do that you need to be disciplined, you can’t give them field position and control of the ball. You need to be accurate because if you start spilling ball you can’t play with the intensity and momentum you want.
“We did it in the first half against the Bulls and did it well but in the second half we didn’t maintain those standards. Once they have field position and momentum they are very difficult to stop. It was similar in the second half against the Sharks although we got the result.
“It’s the same threats and the same pressures we will face in the next two weeks. It’s going to be a step up again and I’ve read the Lions will be full strength so this will give us a real indication of where we are as a squad.
“These are the challenges you want. It’s something different, you don’t play these teams every week and we have seen a lot of them numerous times watching Super Rugby and have admired them so it’s nice to rub shoulders and see where we are.”
The fixtures kick-off an intense period of 10 consecutive fixtures, which also include a return to the Heineken Champions Cup and a series of Welsh derbies, but it also gives the squad the opportunity to enjoy quality time with each other on and off the pitch.
He added:”It’s good in many ways. It’s good for the squad to get away because it’s a long old season training at the Arms Park. It’s a nice opportunity for us to get away, spend some time together, build some bonding off the field and play against quality opposition.”