Pro14: Dragons' South African pair predict tough away trips

Rynard Landman
Rynard Landman joined Dragons from Cheetahs in 2014

Dragons' South African pair Rynard Landman and Sarel Pretorius are predicting difficult away trips for European and South African sides in the expanded Pro14.

Lock Landman and scrum-half Pretorius both played for Cheetahs, one of the new sides alongside the Southern Kings.

"At home they're going to be very good because some of the games will be in 30-plus degrees," said Pretorius.

"Here it'll be five degrees and raining, so that'll be a huge factor."

The two South African teams were added to the Celtic/Italian Pro14 after losing their places in the southern hemisphere Super Rugby competition.

Landman, who was born in the Kings' home city of Port Elizabeth, believes it will be good experience for Welsh teams' players to play high-tempo rugby in warmer conditions.

"Both those teams play expansive rugby, they score a lot of tries and leak a lot of tries as well," he said.

"The ball-in-play (time) will be a lot longer in 28 to 30 degrees, but it'll be a good week touring as well."

Kings to struggle?

Both are predicting initial difficulties for the Southern Kings, who kick off their campaign away to the Scarlets on Saturday, 2 September.

"The Kings are going to struggle because most of their players left because of the uncertainty over Super Rugby and whether they are going to play or not," explained Pretorius.

"They're going to other South African teams and asking for fringe players who aren't in their first teams to play for the Kings for the first part of the season," added Landman.

Marnitz renews Jackman link

The Dragons' new defence coach Hendre Marnitz will add extra South African knowledge to their squad, after moving from Currie Cup side the Blue Bulls.

His arrival at the Welsh side comes courtesy of his time at Irish club Buccaneers, when he met the Dragons' Irish head coach Bernard Jackman.

"Bernard and myself coached against each other in Ireland, we've stayed in touch and I was in France with him for a while, he gave me a ring," said Marnitz.

The Dragons are away to Exeter on Saturday 19 August, having suffered defeats in Montpellier and Northampton with a split squad, in their opening friendlies less than 24 hours apart.

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