Toulouse will give Boks idea about what to expect at French World Cup: Lukhanyo Am

07 April 2023 - 12:21
Sharks centre Lukhanyo Am during a Cell C Sharks training session at Kings Park in Durban on April 4 2023.
Image: Steve Haag Sports/Gallo Images Sharks centre Lukhanyo Am during a Cell C Sharks training session at Kings Park in Durban on April 4 2023.

World-class Springbok and Sharks centre Lukhanyo Am believes playing in France and against the country’s best side will give them a clear idea of what they are likely to be up against in the Rugby World Cup later this year.  

Am is in France with the Sharks for probably one of their toughest games of the season so far. They come up against Toulouse in a Champions Cup quarterfinal on Saturday (4pm).  

The game will take place at the Stade Ernest-Wallon in the Pink City, with Toulouse favourites to knock out another South Africa side after they dispatched the Bulls in the last 16.  

France is set to host the World Cup from September and the Boks will be looking to defending their title.  

The Sharks boast a number of Springbok stars who will be part of the World Cup and Am said they will definitely learn a thing or two that will come in handy when they return for the world showpiece.  

“The Heineken Cup is a massive competition. I think for the majority of us it’s our first season in the Cup,” Am said.  

“And going to France will give us the feel of how it would be or might be playing a hosting nation or French team in their home ground. And getting the feel of the game from the crowds.  

“It will be a learning curve in a way, but we are not looking too far ahead. We are going there to do a job and we will take it from there,” he said.  

This weekend the odds are against the Durban-based franchise, but the Sharks will take a lot of confidence from being the only local side to have gone to France and returned with a win this season.  

The team defeated Bordeaux in the pool stages of the tournament in France, but Toulouse are way different and tougher opponents.  

“There’s a lot of excitement in the group about going there to play a good French side in their home ground,” Am said.  

“That’s gives us (win against Bordeaux) confidence, but it was still earlier on in the season and now it’s pressured games, playoffs rugby and once again travelling away from home.  

“I think as a side we do have the history of travelling well and I think going to Toulouse to play quarterfinals there will be a great challenge for us.”  

For the meeting, the Sharks will be without Boks Eben Etzebeth and Jaden Hendrikse, who are injured.