Glasgow Warriors: Fitness key to beating Cheetahs - Fraser Brown

Fraser Brown
Fraser Brown made his comeback from injury as a replacement against Benetton

Fraser Brown believes Glasgow Warriors' superior fitness could be the key to beating Toyota Cheetahs, despite the match taking place in high altitude.

The Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein is 1,400m above sea level, with the reduced oxygen levels often tiring for players not used to the conditions.

Brown, though, is confident that Warriors will be able to outlast their South African hosts on Friday night.

"We won't adapt our game-plan," the hooker told BBC Scotland.

"We pride ourselves on being one of, if not the fittest team in the league."

Brown returned to action from the bench against Benetton last week after a spell on the sidelines with an ankle injury. He makes his first start of the season against Cheetahs on Friday, with Jonny Gray also named in the side for the first time in this campaign following a lengthy absence with a wrist injury.

Scotland hooker Brown believes playing at high altitude presents the Glasgow players with more of a mental, rather than physical, obstacle.

Glasgow Warriors
Glasgow have kicked off the Pro14 season with five straight victories

"The altitude will challenge us to a certain extent, we know that, but we also know we've got the players, the stamina, the fitness to be able to go and play 80 minutes wherever we are," he explained.

"Traditionally, Cheetahs have maybe fallen off in the last quarter of games with their fitness so it's something we are looking to exploit, to play that high tempo game to try and tire them out.

"We don't really see the altitude as a major factor. We know it's going to be tough, but everything is tough on a rugby pitch. It's just one of those mental battles you have to get your head around before you go on the pitch."

'We've bonded as a squad'

Warriors have been based in Johannesburg since Sunday, flying to Bloemfontein on Thursday for a team run at the Toyota Stadium before Friday's match.

Dave Rennie's first few months in charge could hardly have been better, with a perfect five wins from five to start the Pro14 season.

Brown says the week in South Africa has brought the squad, which saw a significant turnover of players in the summer, closer together.

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Pro14 highlights: Glasgow 37-21 Benetton

"On away trips we're usually together for a day or two and you head out for the odd coffee or whatever. But it's been really good here, a chance to get to know a lot of the boys and just bond really as a squad.

"With some of our new signings and the coaches not coming in until the end of pre-season, we never really got that opportunity during July and August so it's nice to have a mini-tour now.

"It's a first experience for a lot of us travelling such a great distance to a play a game in a week, so it will be a big test for us.

"If we could go six from six to start the season, we couldn't have asked for any better, particularly because we haven't really hit our straps yet."

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