Pro14 or Super Rugby? 'There's not a hell of a difference' - Cheetahs boss Duncan

Cheetahs coach Rory Duncan will take over as Worcester boss for 2018-19
Cheetahs coach Rory Duncan will take over as Worcester boss for 2018-19
Pro14 play-off quarter-final: Scarlets v Cheetahs
Venue: Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli Date: Saturday, 5 May Kick-off: 18:35 BST
Coverage: Live on S4C; live BBC Radio Wales & BBC Radio Cymru on the BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app.

There is not a "hell of a difference" between Super Rugby and Pro14, according to Cheetahs boss Rory Duncan.

In their first season after being axed from the southern hemisphere's major non-Test tournament, Cheetahs have reached the Pro14 knock-outs.

They face the defending champions Scarlets in a quarter-final play-off in Llanelli on Saturday.

"In terms of the quality of the competition, I don't think there's a hell of a difference," said Duncan.

The Bloemfontein-based team won 12 of their 21 Conference A games to finish third, while Scarlets were second in the regular season in Conference B.

Super Rugby slimmed down

Cheetahs and Southern Kings, who finished bottom of Conference B with one win, joined the competition after Super Rugby was slimmed down at the end of their 2017 season.

Super Rugby includes leading teams from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Argentina and Japan.

"Both competitions are extremely competitive. Super Rugby - there's no easy games in Super Rugby and I believe that there's no easy games in Pro rugby," said Duncan.

"Every team that you come up against is going to give you a good run."

Differences in playing style

However, Duncan and Cheetahs captain Francois Venter have highlighted differences in the playing styles of the two tournaments.

Duncan, who leaves Cheetahs to take over at Worcester for 2018-19, said: "We've obviously found Pro rugby to be quite physical and quite direct, and we've obviously realised that in this competition game-management is an important aspect, especially when playing abroad and experiencing wet, cold conditions.

"So it's been a great learning curve for us at the Cheetahs.

"In our first year we've had to learn relatively quickly but credit to the players, they've adapted pretty well and I believe they are confident now in playing games abroad."

Francois Venter takes on Dragons in March, 2018
Francois Venter won the last of his seven South Africa caps against Wales in December, 2017

South Africa centre Venter said: "There's a big difference I think, especially coming here, coming from summer to winter.

"I remember this game we played in Cardiff (against Cardiff Blues) - I've never played in a headwind like that.

"On the field we needed to adapt.

"Throughout the week we talked about all the different kind of conditions we can face and it's actually easy if you can talk through scenarios before it happens.

"I truly believe that Pro rugby is a pressure game. It's all about moments: who can put the most pressure on the other side and force penalties, so that's the biggest on-the-field adjustment we've had to make; or finding the balance between running, kicking and putting the other side under a lot of pressure."

The winners in Llanelli will travel to a last-four encounter away to Glasgow, who topped Conference A.

In the other half of the draw Munster host Edinburgh, with Leinster awaiting the winner.

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