Connacht centre Shayne Bolton is back in his homeland of South Africa and looking forward to this Saturday’s encounter away to the Emirates Lions at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg, kick-off 15:05PM (Irish time)

 

Shayne made the move to Connacht this season and is hoping to get a starting spot in Andy Friend’s match day squad over the next two weekends with two games in South Africa.

 

“It is my first time back in South Africa in about nine months” said the South African.

 

“My parents and girlfriend were waiting for me at the airport when we arrived and the place where we are staying there’s a few restaurants nearby and I’ve been able to have dinner with them and catch up”

 

Playing at altitude is always one of the key adjustments for travelling teams when playing in South Africa and Shayne has been giving advice to team mates on what to expect.

 

“I have been telling the guys about the altitude and hot weather over here on the way but at least it’s not as hot as it usually is”

 

“Usually in the warmups you feel way more tired when training or playing at altitude and your muscles feel more fatigued, but once you get your second breath you get on well”

 

Emirates Airline Park or known to many as Ellis Park is the venue for this Saturday’s United Rugby Championship match and it’s a stadium Shayne has played at before.

 

“I’m from Pretoria which is just down the road from Johannesburg”

 

“I have played at Ellis Park a few times”

 

“Hopefully there will be a big crowd, its usually very hot in the stadium and there wouldn’t really be a breeze blowing through it”

 

Emirates Lions have been in good form of late winning four of their last five matches in the URC.

 

“I think they’ve got a lot of x factor with a few of their players, and they aren’t afraid to play less experienced players, so you are bound to make mistakes when you have new guys coming in but as the season has gone on they have been getting better as the players are getting more game time”

 

“We have to manage the momentum of the game and see how our lungs are going and see how the pack is going”

 

It’s been a new experience for Shayne leaving home and coming to the West of Ireland, but he has enjoyed his journey so far working with the management and players around him.

 

“It has been really enjoyable, but it was hard at the start missing family and with covid around, but I’ve made loads of good friends and the people have been looking after me so well in Galway who are very nice people and so friendly”

 

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