'We're not on holiday' says Bordeaux’s SA-born lock ahead of Sharks Champions Cup battle

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Jandre Marais (Getty)
Jandre Marais (Getty)

South African lock Jandre Marais said his club Bordeaux-Begles "are not on holiday" as they prepare to face the Sharks in his home country in the Champions Cup on Saturday. 

The French side arrived in Durban after a 24-hour journey which included stopovers in Paris and Johannesburg but plan to fit in some off-the-field activities before needing at least a point from the weekend's game to keep their last-16 hopes alive. 

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"We're pretty busy. Our management staff did a great job by letting us taste all the local dishes at the hotel, so we haven't really had to move," Marais told AFP on Thursday. 

"We have a busy week because our plane trip took a bit longer. Our week is a bit shortened, so we don't have a lot of loose time. 

"Tomorrow, I'll see my brother. We're going on a safari this afternoon. 

"But we're not here on holiday," he added. 

Marais, 33, spent six years at King's Park before heading over to France in 2013, and last weekend played his 200th game for Bordeaux-Begles, based in one of the country's best-known wine-producing areas. 

This season, South African sides are competing in the Champions Cup for the first time, having left the Southern Hemisphere Super Rugby for Europe's domestic United Rugby Championship. 

"A lot of people are against it with the European Cup not being European anymore," Marais said. 

"I feel it brings an edge to our side. It's a different kind of rugby. 

"It develops us as a team. For the French national side, it will help them to play against South Africa," he added. 

This weekend, Marais is set to play against South Africa's Rugby World Cup-winning captain Siya Kolisi. 

Flanker Kolisi announced he will be joining Marais in France after this year's World Cup signing a contract with Racing 92. 

"He'll slot in easily in Paris," Marais said. 

"One thing I'll tell him is to watch out for the bread. 

"Everyone gains a little bit of weight in the first year, so watch out for that," he added. 

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