Blogs & Opinion


Phil Edwards:

Most Popular Posts:

Opinion Archive:

Humidity of Hong Kong is first big test for Lions, says Phil Edwards

Phil Edwards Posted 30th May 2013 view comments

After 1,425 days, the waiting is almost over.

I know it is hard to believe, but that is how many days of our lives have slipped by since the British and Irish Lions last played a game of rugby.

On July 4, 2009 they beat South Africa at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, thanks to a brace of tries from Shane Williams and one from Ugo Monye.

Jamie Roberts trying to cool down in Hong Kong

Jamie Roberts trying to cool down in Hong Kong

And finally, after all the publicity shoots, departure dinners, hospitality events and even the odd training session, they are once again about to don the most coveted of jerseys and experience the blood, sweat and tears of a tour to far flung places.

Did I mention sweat? Here in Hong Kong the daily temperatures nudge 90 degrees Fahrenheit, while humidity levels are just above 80 per cent.

Waters sprays and electric fans have been installed at the side of the training paddock, but apparently make little difference to player comfort levels.

Phil Edwards
Quotes of the week

LIVE ON SKY SPORTS

Lions v Barbarians
12pm, Sat, Sky Sports 1 HD

There is a polite saying that horses sweat, gentlemen perspire and ladies glow; that is all very well, but in conditions like these, rugby players positively cascade.

Waters sprays and electric fans have been installed at the side of the training paddock, but apparently make little difference to player comfort levels. The first of many challenges on this tour will be the very elements themselves.

Honour

So to team news and as expected Sam Warburton will take no part in the opening fixture after taking a knock. Paul O'Connell, skipper of the whole shebang four years ago, will have the honour of leading the Lions once again, this time at a sweltering Hong Kong Stadium.

As expected, circumstances have dictated that Welshmen make up the majority of Warren Gatland's first line-up. Given the conditions in this part of the world they are probably missing wet Wednesday nights in Pontypool.

The same goes for the Barbarians, of course. With one eye on the weather, and in light of a pretty disappointing match against England at Twickenham last Saturday, they have made a number of important changes.

Never mind drafting in some bloke called Sergio Parisse, by far the most significant has been the decision to ditch decades of tradition and introduce a voluntary alcohol ban. Apart from the odd glass of wine with a meal, there will be no serious consumption of either grape or grain.

This is a huge and highly controversial move and something aficionados of the sport thought they would never witness. It seems that gone are the days of Baa Baas players spending six days on the lash, working out a couple of plays in a pub car park, then taking on (and often beating) the very best in the business.

Last night in the hotel bar I suggested to my fellow rugby journalists that we might like to think about a similar gesture. After about 25 minutes they finally stopped laughing...

Watch every Lions game live only on Sky Sports. To sign up or upgrade click here

Comments (1)

  • Page 1 of 1
  • 1

Mark O'callaghan says...

Just heard complaints about our 20 degree heat back home haha! I'd say the ice baths will be in high demand over there!

Posted 10:51 30th May 2013

  • Page 1 of 1
  • 1

back to top

Other Rugby Union Experts:

Latest Posts in Rugby Union:

Stuart Barnes

Boks clever

Smart play from South Africa wasn't enough to beat a resilient New Zealand, says Stuart Barnes....

Latest News RSS feeds

Wallabies bring back Genia

Former Australia captain Will Genia has been recalled by the Wallabies for the final two Rugby Championship matches.

Blues bring in Cowan

The Blues have confirmed the signing of experienced New Zealand scrum-half Jimmy Cowan.

Toulon may end Halfpenny deal

Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal has not ruled out terminating Leigh Halfpenny's deal due to ongoing injury problems.

Springboks lose injured Louw

South Africa flanker Francois Louw has been ruled out of the rest of the Rugby Championship with a neck injury.

Coombs handed three-match ban

Newport Gwent Dragons forward Andrew Coombs has been handed a three-week ban after being cited for allegedly stamping.

Features

The Off Load: The best and worst from the world of rugby

The Off Load: The best and worst from the world of rugby

Trouble is brewing in Toulouse as Clermont Auvergne inflict another loss on the giants of French rugby.

Stuart Lancaster underlines the importance of pride as England Rugby launch new kit

Stuart Lancaster underlines the importance of pride as England Rugby launch new kit

Heritage and passion are very much at the heart of Stuart Lancaster’s coaching philosophy and the England head coach has once again underlined the significance of the Red Rose.

Thinus Delport, Sean Fitzpatrick, Michael Lynagh and Gonzalo Camacho react to the Rugby Championship

Thinus Delport, Sean Fitzpatrick, Michael Lynagh and Gonzalo Camacho react to the Rugby Championship

New Zealand remain top of the Rugby Championship after beating South Africa 14-10 in Wellington on Saturday.