Glasgow Warriors players will find the change in conditions tough in South Africa this week, but head coach Dave Rennie’s experience of taking teams there during his Super Rugby days will help the squad, according to Chris Paterson.
The Warriors are currently in camp in Johannesburg ahead of the Guinness Pro14 clash with the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Friday evening having left Glasgow on Sunday.
Come kick-off time at the Toyota Stadium, which is 1,400 metres above sea level and the reduced oxygen levels can cause problems and energy-sapping tiredness.
The Cheetahs, coached by former Watsonians player Rory Duncan, are on a high having won their first three home matches against Zebre, Leinster and the Ospreys.
Paterson, pictured,the former Scotland full-back, was lucky enough to play in all corners of the globe during his own career.
The 39-year-old played in Bloemfontein 21 years ago with the Scottish Schools and said: “It was a long time ago, but I remember that when you went to take a big breath during the match it was almost like you were winded and you felt short of breath as a result quite a lot of the time.
“It was certainly like nowhere I played and took a bit of adjusting to, but technology and things like that have moved on and because the Warriors have known about this trip for a while and they have a few days in the country before the match I am sure the players will be given advice about what to expect and also how to minimise the effects.
“The team run in Bloemfontein on Thursday night will be key because the guys can really experience what it is like rather than just hearing about it from the medical team and that should see them through.
“Dave Rennie is also an experienced man and I am sure he will have left no stone unturned as they look to remain unbeaten.”
Paterson has been impressed by the Cheetahs who have notched three victories from five to date, but he has also enjoyed the way the Warriors have begun life under Rennie and stated: “I think this will be a cracking match.
“Both teams have been scoring tries for fun and have a number of dangerous strike runners so it will be very interesting to see what the outcome is.”