Bardoul looks forward to ‘Wolf Pack’ showdown
As the Force prepares for their next two games on tour, Johan Bardoul is looking forward to the challenge against the Japanese ‘Wolf Pack’ while the team continue to adjust to their new surroundings in Japan.
Returning home after touring New Zealand, the Wolf Pack, will play the Force in Tokyo and Bardoul is expecting it to be a tough clash for both teams.
“We obviously set aside goals to win all three games over here, in Asia. So it’ll be a tough game for sure but, if we get our systems right we’ll be fine I think,” Bardoul said.
“They’re a good side, they’ve got really good Japanese players and they are well drilled.”
“They beat the Hurricanes development by a lot and they are obviously on their home ground in Tokyo as well, which is an awesome stadium as well.”
Despite being unbeaten so far this year and a convincing 36-point win against the Sanix Blues on Saturday, Bardoul admits the match was not without its challenges.
“We got the win, it wasn’t our best game that’s for sure. It’s obviously foreign ground for everyone, for most of the boys,” he said.
“It was tough, it was played at 1 o’clock in the afternoon and we’ve been playing our games at night obviously, so that was different again.
“Not being long off the plane was a bit of a challenge, I think the boys felt that a bit particularly in the second half.”
Unlike some of his teammates, Japan isn’t unfamiliar territory for Bardoul, having spent two seasons with Japanese team Yamaha Júbilo.
“It feels bit different. The times I have been here in the past, obviously a part of a Japanese team. Now I am a part of the touring team, which feels a bit weird,” Bardoul said.
“It was really cool to see them (Japanese teammates). We had a bit of banter on the field when we were playing and you don’t get to do that very often, especially in foreign countries and two completely different countries.”
“It was an awesome experience, it was really good to see the guys and have a chat to them. It was a weird feeling being a foreigner over here, after living here for 3 years but it’s good.”
For the almost Japanese local, Bardoul has been impressed with how eager the boys are to embrace the Japanese culture and said he’s happy to help if needed.
“The boys have asked me close to a hundred questions,” Bardoul said.
“It’s good to be helpful and that. In saying that like the boys are trying things on their own and asking questions, trying to learn the basics of the Japanese language to get themselves around. If they get stuck they ask me or Rod Davies.”
Written by Samuel Smith