It was clear when the schedule was announced for the Lions tour that the first couple of weeks were going to be incredibly tough.
They were only off a long haul flight three days before they had to play the Provincial Barbarians in Whangarei and then for the time until the Test matches began, they played two games a week which coincided with a lot of travel, media gigs and commercial appearances. Ultimately, it is an intense experience, to say the least.
For Irishman Tadhg Furlong, this was his first Lions tour but considering his stock as one of the best tightheads in world rugby, it certainly won’t be his last. Speaking at the One-Zero Conference in Dublin yesterday he admitted that the first few weeks of the Lions tour was a bit of a shock to the system.
“I look back on the tour and it’s kind of split into two halves,” Furlong told the audience at One-Zero. The first three or three and a half weeks we fit a lot in. We did a lot of commercial gigs, we did a lot of travelling, two games a week and we really stacked the training high for those first three odd weeks that we were over there.
“You’re there and you’re thinking ‘fuck me, like’, do you know what I mean? This is tough going, you go on a Lions tour and everyone has these really good stories about it and find it really enjoyable. I found it incredibly tough work, it was work, work, work. Your body is under pressure, your rolling out to training stiff and sore…”
Furlong did admit though that once the Test matches rolled around, funnily enough even though there is more pressure associated with those games, he enjoyed his time a lot more due to tapered down training and the opportunity to spend more time in the one place.
“That was the first three weeks and then as you get into Test matches and luckily enough I was involved in them. The training for those are all tapered down and you can just relax and enjoy it a bit more, you’re spending more time in one city, I suppose you have that time to pop out for a coffee or get food or something.”