Rugby - Robson buoyed by success in 'sauna'

The British and Irish Lions will arrive in Australia with no new injury problems after emerging largely unscathed from their Hong Kong Stadium "sauna" experience.

PA Sport
Rugby - Robson buoyed by success in 'sauna'
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James Robson esrimated weight-loss average of 2kg per player against the Barbarians

A temperature of 30 degrees and stifling humidity meant conditions could hardly have been tougher for the tour opener against an outclassed Barbarians side.

But the only casualties reported by Lions doctor James Robson were lock Paul O'Connell and hooker Tom Youngs, who both required stitches for cuts.

Western Force are next up for the Lions in Perth on Wednesday, with a possibility that tour captain Sam Warburton (knee), Sean O'Brien (bone bruising) and Gethin Jenkins (calf muscle) could all make first tour appearances.

"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," Robson said. "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?"

Robson estimated a possible weight-loss average of two kilograms per player, and he feels benefits could have been gained for later in the tour.

"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."

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