British and Irish Lions can't stand the Hong Kong heat
As Hong Kong gears up for a scorching weekend, the sun (and blue sky!) is on our minds. For the visiting British and Irish Lions, the weather is also their top concern, reports The Independent.
"Training here has made me feel sick. When you're running, it seems OK. When you stop to catch your breath and realise it's not there… that's when it's bad,” Welsh forward Adam Jones told the British newspaper.
The Lions kick off their world tour when they play the Barbarians on Saturday, when temperatures are expected to reach a high of 33 degrees Celsius. The run-up to the match has already been followed closely by foreign media after Hong Kong’s rugby sevens captain Rowan Varty was dropped then reinstated to play with the Barbarians.
The South China Morning Post’s Alvin Sallay also calls it a “historic clash” - even though only 26,000 tickets were sold for the 40,000-seat So Kon Po venue. Lions officials had promised 10,000 fans would come to Hong Kong and were confident it would be a sell-out.
Even after all that controversy, the biggest worry is the weather. The high temperature and humidity do not even compare with the high altitude of Rustenburg, when the Lions toured South Africa four years ago, said The Independent.
Those participating tomorrow are likely to struggle a whole lot more and there is concern among the conditioning staff that dehydration levels will be off the scale.
"Lions sick of 'horrific' heat and humidity in Hong Kong," the headline reads.
“Our sessions have been a shock to the system, and the locals think the game is going to be played on the warmest day of the year,” said Jones. “I think the conditions could be more difficult than anything I've experienced in my career."
While the Barbarians players will feel every bit as uncomfortable as the Lions, it is not they who must fly to Perth the day after the game and embark on a brutally demanding nine-match trek around Wallaby country. If the move to launch this tour in Asia rather than Australia seemed like a good idea at the time, those responsible for the decision are surely having second thoughts now.