British & Irish Lions
Farrell expecting formidable Baabaas side
Tom Hamilton in Hong Kong
May 31, 2013
Toby Faletau attempts to cool down in training © Getty Images
British & Irish Lions coach Andy Farrell is anticipating a more impressive showing from the Barbarians on Saturday than they managed against England last weekend.
The Barbarians lost 40-12 to Stuart Lancaster's men on Sunday and failed to find the rhythm expected from the famous invitational side. Come Saturday, they will come up against a Lions side who are just embarking on their 10-match tour of Hong Kong and Australia and the tourists will want to put down a marker against the Barbarians.
The Baabaas have picked a strong side for Saturday's game with the likes of ex-All Blacks winger Joe Rokocoko, Italian skipper Sergio Parisse and former Leicester tight-head Martin Castrogiovanni starting. While Farrell said on Friday his side are "itching" to get going, he expects the Barbarians to put up a strong showing against the Lions.
"These boys (Barbarians) could have been on holiday two weeks ago," Farrell said. "But they have a fantastic opportunity to play against a wonderful concept like the Lions. They need to relax and get their togetherness going and I've absolutely no doubt with the side that they've picked that they will perform really well on Saturday. They could be somewhere else with their families but they chose to be here to play against us."
Just over half of the Lions have been in camp since May 13 and Farrell is hopeful that the conditioning work they have put in will create an "intensity the Barbarians will struggle with". But one major factor in deciding the outcome of the match will be the heat. When the game kicks off, the humidity will be at about 81% with the temperature in the region of 29-31 degrees Celsius.
Some of the Lions players will wear ice packs throughout the match in an attempt to keep cool while fans will be blowing cold air on to the field during the game. There will also be water breaks after 15 and 30 minutes and Farrell is adamant his side can cope with the conditions.
"They aren't thinking about heat, exhaustion - they are thinking about rugby. They are in brilliant nick and the beauty of the week in Wales and the week in Ireland means we have been able to condition them.
"These boys fill in wellness charts every morning. They have urine tests before and after training - they are weighed before and after training. The first day was really humid when we trained and some boys lost three or four kilos. The next day we had water breaks and fans on the side of the pitch and some boys only lost a kilo."
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Tom Hamilton is the Assistant Editor of ESPNscrum.
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