British & Irish Lions will use altitude chamber to prepare for Tests in Johannesburg

The British & Irish Lions will prepare for the tour of South Africa by using an altitude chamber in Jersey.

Ugo Monye and Phil Vickery celebrate victory in the third Test against South Africa at altitude at Ellis Park in Johannesburg in 2009. Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images

The tourists will gather on the island for 10 days ahead of the warm-up Test against Japan at BT Murrayfield on June 26.

The Lions tour itinerary, which will be confirmed this week, is expected to include two Test matches in Johannesburg, 1,753 metres above sea level.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

It’s not uncommon to feel winded in Johannesburg and altitude sickness will be a concern for the tourists, although head coach Warren Gatland is comfortable with the itinerary.

“I think the schedule is great. We have to make the best of what we have to do. We’re not in the same bubble the whole time, so will get to move around a bit.

“We’ll be doing altitude training with masks when we go to Jersey. The gym over there has an altitude chamber.

“When we get over to South Africa we will have the first couple of weeks at altitude to acclimatise, then will go down to sea level and then back up to altitude for the second and third Test.

“It works out from that perspective as a positive. The altitude is not going to make a difference for us, and we will have done significant prep on that before going.”

Read More

Read More
Warren Gatland: ‘There will definitely be more Scots on this Lions tour’

Gatland expects one Test to be played in Cape Town and two in Johannesburg – one at Ellis Park and one at the FNB Stadium at Soccer City, venue for the 2010 World Cup final.

“I think they’re hoping for up to 50 per cent of crowds, but that’s a moveable feast,” added Gatland. “As we know things can change from week-to-week, so we’ve got to wait and see.”

The Lions coach said the absence of fans from the UK and Ireland would be a huge miss for the touring side if, as expected, they are not allowed to travel to South Africa.

“The fans are on the same level as the rugby – they go hand-in-hand,” said Gatland. “Are things going to change in the next couple of months? Are people who have been vaccinated going to be able to travel? There may be some flexibility on that, we’re all not too sure on that.

“You get a kick out of the sea of red, the passionate fans, everyone coming together from different backgrounds all supporting one team – it’s unique, special, and it’s something the coaches, management and players feed off. It’s going to be a huge loss for us not being able to have those with us.”

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription


Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.