Heat dominates All Blacks' early training in Japan

GettyImages 1173744377 v2

With temperatures hovering around 40 degress Celsius, the first players' press conference was dominated by the reaction of lock Sam Whitelock and halfback Brad Weber to how they were coping with the heat.


Whitelock said having left Hamilton on a wet day to travel to Auckland before flying to Japan, it had only taken five metres on Japanese soil to appreciate how much hotter it was.


"It's something we've always known and we got here a little bit early to hopefully acclimatise to it and it was good today to get out there in the heat and run round," he said.


Maintaining a cool body temperature was a case of working out what was best for yourself as a player, he said. Whitelock said he was happy with water intake to cope but others liked to use cold towels all over themselves to try and get their body temperature down.


The side had an incident-free trip to Tokyo, compared with some others whose plans were affected by Typhoon Faxai and the reception they had received at their training base had been outstanding.


"It was an awesome reception. I'm not sure how many people were there but it was pretty cool to see how hyped up the city is to have us here," he said.


Whitelock added that the warm conditions would see sides wanting to play expansive rugby but it was a case of making sure you could control the tempo.


"You don't want to go out there to try and play fast the whole time when it is probably smarter to slow it down. So it is a case of making sure, yes you have that ability but you have to have that ability to close out if you have two minutes before halftime or before the fulltime whistle so.


"It's something we're aware of but you have to make sure you have the ability to play a couple of different styles," he said.


While South Africa had been in Japan longer, due to their warm-up game with Japan, the All Blacks had been working on preparing for the heat before leaving New Zealand by utilising saunas and spas to be well prepared for the heat.


Weber said the situation wasn't outrageously different, to him it was just like pre-season training for Super Rugby.


Weber said compared to 12 months ago when being in the All Blacks' World Cup squad had seemed so far out of reach as a result of being so far down the pecking order, having arrived in Japan it was a case of fulfilling the goal he had set down a long time ago and now that he was there he could believe his dream.


"Now it's about putting personal ego aside and it's all about the team so whatever role I'm asked to do, whether it's playing or helping the other guys perform then I'll do it to the best of my ability," he said.


"New Zealanders like to play a fast game, up tempo. I see these conditions suiting us perfectly," he said.





View all