Home conditions an advantage only if we play them correctly, says Sharks' Powell as Bordeaux await

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Neil Powell. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)
Neil Powell. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)

There has been much talk over the last couple of months about the stark difference in conditions facing teams playing in the United Rugby Championship and Champions Cup as they travel between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

READ | Powell on full-strength Sharks squad for 'tough' Bordeaux clash: 'It's great to have everybody back"

While Sharks director of rugby Neil Powell acknowledged that hot and humid home conditions would suit his side against Bordeaux, who travel to South Africa from winter in the north, he stressed that playing those conditions correctly was imperative. 

Sharks team:

15 Boeta Chamberlain, 14 Marnus Potgieter, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Gerbrandt Grobler, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche

Substitutes: 16. Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Ntuthuko Mchunu, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Phepsi Buthelezi, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Lionel Cronje, 23 Rohan Janse van Rensburg

"It will only play to our advantage if we play the conditions correctly, but obviously, we have a plan to play Bordeaux in these conditions," Powell told media after announcing his team, stressing that an expansive game might not be the best idea because of the humidity factor. 

"It's totally different to the conditions that they know - hot and humid, but I think the ball will be difficult to keep in hand to really play an expansive game, and we need to plan accordingly. 

"We've trained for the last week in this weather and the humidity, and we got a better understanding of how difficult it is to handle the ball. The conditions are definitely an advantage to the home team, but only if we play them right. 

The match in Durban kicks off at 17:15 on Saturday. 

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