Planet Rugby

The British & Irish Lions


Lions to arrive fighting fit

02nd June 2013 13:55


SKY_MOBILE British and Irish Lions in swimming pool

Cooling down: Lions recovery session

The British and Irish Lions will arrive in Australia on Monday with no new injuries and hopeful that skipper Sam Warburton will be ready to play against the Western Force on Wednesday.

Team doctor James Robson has given the squad a clean bill of health following their Hong Kong Stadium "sauna" experience on Saturday and says the captain is "progressing well" as he recovers from a knee ligament strain suffered in training last week that ruled him out of the tour opener.

"He (Warburton) is subject to further assessment today and then we will give our recommendations to the coaches," said Robson.

Sean O'Brien (bone bruising) and Gethin Jenkins (calf muscle) could also make their first tour appearances in Perth on Wednesday.

The only casualties reported after the clash with the Barbarians were lock Paul O'Connell and hooker Tom Youngs, who both required stitches for cuts.

"They were tough conditions, but I thought the boys did exceptionally well and I am delighted we have less damage than I would expect in a normal Test match," said Robson.

"Two guys required stitches - Paul O'Connell and Tom Youngs. It is never nice when somebody gets cut, but those were accidents.

"I normally expect that it takes on average about two to three days to recover from a Test match. It is difficult to know if the added environmental effects will make any difference just now. We don't often play in those conditions.

"I would expect the bulk of that squad to be available for when they are next selected.

"Coaches will often want guys to perform under pressure in training in order to perform at their best in Test matches. What better test last night than to put them in a sauna and get them to play for 80 minutes?"

The game was stopped twice in each half by referee Steve Walsh for water breaks and Robson estimated a possible weight-loss average of two kilograms per player.

"The guys are getting good at refuelling, and we have had quite a bit of practice this week as well because we have trained in quite harsh conditions," he added.

"The guys came off absolutely soaked, but you have got to remember they were taking advantage of the water breaks, not only to consume water, but to pour it all over themselves.

"We know that if you stress individuals at certain points you do get a benefit.

"You get a benefit in the change of your natural blood volume, you get a benefit in your ability to cope with stresses - be them physical or mental - and we would hope this week has done that.

"I would hope we will complete the tour with everybody intact. That is always my hope.

"Unfortunately, because of the kind of injury rates we see just now, we may lose two or three people. If we are unlucky, we may lose more than that.

"All I can say is that we are going to arrive in Australia with the squad intact, and we have, for the bulk of the squad, been training for three weeks and some of that training has been pretty brutal.

"There has been no holding back, despite the guys having the biggest prize of all to play for the Lions in Australia. There has been no quarter asked and no quarter given.

"I have been immensely impressed with the work ethic of this squad."