Brisbane Global Tens To Feel The Heat As Players Get Set For Punishing Conditions

February 09, 2017

It has been billed as 'Two Days of Rugby Heaven' but it might be closer to hell in terms of temperatures as Brisbane Global Tens organisers put extreme temperature policies in place ahead of the inaugural tournament at Suncorp Stadium.

An impending heatwave sweeping through NSW and southern Queensland has been predicted to see players stepping out in temperatures of 35 degrees on Saturday and 37 degrees on Sunday.

It represents the hottest stretch of an already scorching summer and will come as an almighty shock to teams visiting from across the Tasman and especially Japan's Panasonic Wild Knights, who are emerging from a northern hemisphere winter.

Large squads and rolling replacements will be hugely beneficial but teams like the Chiefs are taking no chances when it comes to preparing for the searing conditions.

"A lot of water, a lot of Powerade. You need to keep your fluids up... rolling subs is good too. Once I've had enough I'll be putting my hand up to come off," said former All Black flanker and Tens leader Liam Messam.

"But it's something that has to be managed because it can be quite dangerous if it gets too hot, as we saw with the A-League last week."

A-League players have demanded games be postponed if kick-off times are too hot, with Adelaide hosting Wellington in 38-degree heat a week ago. Sunday's temperatures in Brisbane are likely to be similar if forecasts are correct, although the likelihood of higher humidity in Queensland would make it even more punishing for athletes.

Duco Events will use the World Rugby heat guidelines for the Tens, which stipulates the steps needed to be taken to ensure the welfare of players. Fans, ice stations and cold towels are also going to be available to players as they rotate off the field.

Duco Australia chief executive Rachael Carroll said player welfare was their primary concern and every step would be put in place to protect participants. ARU medical experts, well-versed in hot weather rugby, will also be on hand to oversee proceedings.

"The main strategy suggests shortening matches, so by the very nature of a 10-minute per half tournament we've achieved that," Carroll said.

"Competing teams have large travelling squads, can name 18 for each match with unlimited interchange. There's no need for any player to be exposed to the elements for any long stretch of time.

"It's going to be hot - player safety is of paramount concern for us. The ARU medical advisors are advising us, they advised the Sydney Sevens last weekend and the Sevens on the Sunday got to about 37, 38 degrees."

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie said it was a challenging time to play rugby but backed Duco to ensure all of the various protocols were in place.

"I know Duco will take it very seriously and they'll have a plan around if it gets too hot to play. It's not normally an issue, the heat, but that will come into it. We'll prepare well for it," Rennie said.

Rennie has made the Tens part of the Chiefs' pre-season, with the Kiwi side taking on the Bulls in a trial on Thursday at Ballymore before heading into the two-day Tens event.

He said he was disappointed that current All Blacks players were given a red light from NZ Rugby but insisted the event would be highly competitive no matter the make up of the various sides.(The Sydney Morning Herald) 



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