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Lions ready to roar - Farrell


The Lions take on the Barbarians at Hong Kong Stadium on Saturday

The Lions take on the Barbarians at Hong Kong Stadium on Saturday


The Lions take on the Barbarians at Hong Kong Stadium on Saturday

Andy Farrell has no doubt the British and Irish Lions are ready to blast out of their starting blocks on Saturday - despite stamina-sapping heat and humidity at Hong Kong Stadium.

The Lions will be well and truly out of their comfort zone, with the temperature at kick-off - 7.30pm local time - forecast to be around 30 degrees. Two short water breaks during each half are scheduled, while giant fans will be situated near the touchlines if Lions and Barbarians players require them.

Lions assistant coach Farrell, though, does not anticipate the conditions being an issue for the squad. "The guys have adapted fantastically well, trained very intensely and they are all itching for a game," Farrell said. "It's 15 minutes and 30 minutes for water breaks in each half and there are fans on the side of the pitch all the time, so it won't be a problem whatsoever."

He added: "The players have coped really well in training in the mornings and afternoons when it has been really hot. These boys fill in wellness charts every single morning, they have (urine) tests every day, they weigh before and after training.

"The first day here was really humid when we trained - I think it was 85 per cent - and some boys lost three and four kilograms. The next day we had rehydration breaks and fans on the side of the pitch and some of the boys only lost one kilogram.

"They've got ice vests they can use at half-time to cool their body down and some like to put an ice towel over their head, but once you are in the middle of the game and thinking about rugby, you are not thinking about heat and exhaustion.

"One thing that shines out about this squad is that they are in brilliant nick. That has been the beauty of the training week we had in Wales and the training week in Ireland. We've been able to condition them and get them higher than match intensity.

"What you would expect from a side like this is an intensity that hopefully the Barbarians are going to struggle with."

The Baa-Baas clash, viewed by some pundits as an irrelevant inconvenience before far more serious business Down Under, will give Lions head coach Warren Gatland an immediate opportunity to assess combinations before arriving in Perth on Monday.

Attention is likely to focus on the half-back pairing of Owen Farrell and Mike Phillips, the Richie Gray-Paul O'Connell second-row partnership and an all-Welsh back-row of Dan Lydiate, Justin Tipuric and Toby Faletau.

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