British & Irish Lions 2013
Jones out of his comfort zone
Thu, 30 May 2013 15:14
It's going to be a huge game
Adam Jones is one of only four players to have previously represented the British and Irish Lions who will start against the Barbarians on Saturday, but the big Welsh prop admitted Thursday that he will be well out of his comfort zone.
Not only is the heat and humidity of Hong Kong a whole new experience, but the tighthead also faces the unusual prospect of packing down against his good friend and fellow Welshman Paul James, who will be his opposite number in the Baa-Baas front row at the Hong Kong Stadium.
The Lions trained in 30°C-plus conditions for the second day running on Thursday, and Jones said the experience had not been a comfortable one.
Asked if he ever encountered such conditions before, training or playing, Jones said, "not by a long way," before admitting he had even felt physically sick after the first session on Wednesday.
"As weird as it sounds, when you're training and running it wasn't too bad. But when you stopped and you had to get your breath back, well, it just wasn't there really - just gagging for air. But everyone's feeling the same so you just get on with it.
"Look I'm sweating now in air-conditioning," the hirsute Ospreys man added to reporters at the team hotel.
"I'm quite a sweaty bloke anyway, so it's going to affect me. But nothing you do in training is going to compare with the match."
Jones said the most important thing was that the Lions got off to a good start to the tour and built some momentum. "To start the first tour match is a massive thing, so I'm looking forward to it," he said.
"The Barbarians-Lions, there's only been one before [in 1977]. It's going to be a huge game. I'm not saying it's as big as a Lions Test but it's pretty special."
And of the odd prospect of a fierce front-row battle with his best friend and Wales team-mate James? "I think I've only packed down against him once, and that was when we were 15 and schoolboys. So that'll be a bit different."
Jones likened the steamy encounter in Hong Kong to the first Lions game four years ago in South Africa, when he also played under physically testing conditions, on that occasion in the high altitude of Rustenburg.
Asked what was more difficult to cope with, heat and humidity or altitude, he replied with a smile: "Ask me again after the match."
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