Before setting off for Oz to take on the Wallabies, three members of the 2013 British and Irish Lions squad undertook a different type of training session at Red Bull’s Hangar Seven at Salzburg Airport.
With the Tests looming, keeping calm under pressure will be key for the Lions throughout the remainder of the tour. Luckily, before flying across the world, Owen Farrell, Jamie Roberts and George North all tested their ability to remain focused in the face of challenging circumstances in a training session with a twist, that included a helicopter a fighter jet and a Nascar in Austria last month, along with ShortList magazine, The Daily Telegraph and Total Rugby along to watch.
Farrell, who recently enjoyed a 100 percent return of five penalties and a conversion against the Queensland Reds, is already familiar with having to blank out the noise of 50,000 screaming Australian fans. However, could he calmly negotiate the distractions of a Nascar and an Alpha Jet before coming face to face with a Cobra Bell helicopter?
“I had never kicked in conditions like it. The wind swirling around my head and the fact a helicopter was hovering just over my shoulder, made it a real test to focus on what I needed to do. I had to raise my concentration levels to blank the distractions out. It was tough, but we got there in the end.”
In his latest Lions outing against the Combined Counties XV, North scored two cracking tries. The giant Welsh wing is known for his electrifying pace and ability to quickly change direction off either foot, but how did he get on when he took to the skies in a BO105 aerobatic helicopter?
Finally, could Jamie Roberts, Player of the Series on the 2009 Lions Tour, keep his cool in an Alpha Jet at speeds of over 500 mph?
Check out the training session here.