THE fixture list has been kind to us for once – we’ve gone from the freezing cold of Ebbw Vale to the warmth of Port Elizabeth.

The Guinness PRO14 game against the Southern Kings is a timely one as we have been able to escape the ‘Beast from the East’ and have a good week of training in South Africa.

We set off on Sunday evening and at the time the 11-hour flight then another connection to Port Elizabeth seemed like a bit of an ordeal but then we started to see social media updates about how cold things are back home.

As soon as we arrived there was a short trip for a dip in the sea to flush out the stiffness from the travel, with one or two of the boys a bit scared of cold, the waves and the sharks!

Last time I can remember a trip like this was a double-header in Italy in 2012 when we played Treviso in the league one week then Mogliano in the Challenge Cup the next.

It’s good to have a bonding trip during the season and get that combination between off-field activities and a good amount of preparation time.

Sometimes there is the tendency to want to get home quickly when training at home but here we have been able to relax and slot in an extra meeting or two.

It’s the chance to get the detail right for what will be a tough game against the Kings – they may be winless but they will have been targeting us after games away to Ulster, the Ospreys and Leinster – but the bonding has also been important.

We managed to slot in a bit of surfing, which was certainly different here to when we went as a squad down to Llangennith beach in the Gower a few years back.

There have also been a few cultural visits with our South Africans, Zane Kirchner, Jarryd Sage, Rynard Landman and Sarel Pretorius, taking the lead while the table tennis in the hotel has got pretty competitive.

We’ve got some boys who think they could be pro ‘wiff waff’ players, Dan Babos and Sam Hobbs thinking they are the best.

The training has been good ahead of tonight’s game and we’ve been able to enjoy sessions in the sun rather than braving the frost in Ystrad Mynach.

It is 27 degrees in the morning and when I looked at my watch at one stage in training it had hit 30 – if you manage to catch any of the footage of the game then you may spot one or two red faces from boys that were a bit overconfident about their complexions.

A simple gameplan is what we will be taking into this game. Having trained on the pitch for team run, the stadium is outstanding and even though the heat won't be quite 30 degrees as we trained in the other day, it will still be draining.

That means smart and efficient rugby will be the victor and playing in the opponent’s half will help get the victory that we very much need after a disappointing few weeks of results.

Some great memories have been made in South Africa this week but there would be none better than getting a win over here.