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Dunne reflects on SA tour

Some of squad with Nelson Mandela

Some of squad with Nelson Mandela

Despite his early exit from Saturday's defeat to the Kaizer Chiefs, Richard Dunne thinks that his and City's preparations for the new season are right on schedule.

The Blues skipper left the fray in Pretoria after 36 minutes, by which time Javan Vidal had already been carried off with a gashed shin. The Blues' win over the same opponents the previous Tuesday seemed to have fired up the Chiefs, and the Blues left South Africa knowing they had been in a real contest - just what Richard says the team needed.

"There were some strong challenges going in, it's difficult to know how to play it at this stage of the season, whether to go full on or not. But it was a good work out for us, we got the fitness out of it that we needed and although we didn't win we got that aspect out of it.

"I injured some knee ligaments during the summer, it was not quite right during the game so I had to come off as a precaution. It's not worth the risk, and the important thing is to get the fitness out of these games, and not to pick up any injuries. The slightest problem means you have to come off."

Richard's all-too-brief appearance came at the end of a 10-day visit to South Africa that featured three games in the Vodacom Challenge, a lot of hard training sessions and a memorable meeting with the former president Nelson Mandela.

For the skipper, getting some match practice in was the most valuable aspect of the trip but the Mandela meeting will also linger long in his memory.

"You need to get your awareness back and other things that you can only get from playing games, so the games in South Africa were good for us.

"The whole time away was a great experience, especially meeting Nelson Mandela, but in between times there has been a lot of hard work. Everyone's glad to have been away together and we got what we needed out of the trip." 

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