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The extreme lengths some World Cup contenders are going to in preparation for Japan

NZ Herald

While the All Blacks brave New Zealand’s wet weather, their top opponents are getting a head start in the heat to prepare for the Rugby World Cup.

Japan’s climate is set to provide unique challenges for players at this year’s pinnacle event, with stifling, sweaty conditions expected throughout.

With this in mind, Wales have continued their preparations with a gruelling training camp in Turkey as they aim to get into peak condition for the global showpiece.

The squad, who have recently risen to the top of the world rankings, are being put through their paces up to three times a day in temperatures reaching 40 degrees.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland said it was all part the plan to ensure his side were prepared for the gruelling heat which awaits.

“Our second camp is our warm-weather camp, we will be based over in Turkey, putting the players through heat stress, preparing them for the conditions in Japan,” he said.

Ireland have been put through a similar training camp in Portugal, where temperatures have reached 30 degrees in recent days, with players even training in plastic vests to increase the amount they sweat.

Head coach Joe Schmidt didn’t take the squad on a warm-weather camp before the last World Cup but believed the climate will play more of a role at this tournament.

Ireland captain Rory Best agreed the camp would be an important piece in their preparation and told the Independent it was a good way to eliminate distractions.

Joe Schmidt has put the pressure on Ireland with a warm-weather training camp in Portugal. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

“It’s a good opportunity to work hard in some fairly hot conditions,” he said. “The down days are brilliant, to get away. Some boys will go to the beach and some will play golf. Some will just hang around somewhere.”

Meanwhile, the All Blacks will be forced to endure the cold for a little while longer with their final pre-World Cup test against Tonga in Hamilton.

The side will then have just two weeks before they kick off their World Cup campaign against the Springboks.

According to Tokyo-based dermatologist Tomoko Fujimoto, it could be to their disadvantage.

“Athletes, especially those coming from overseas to this high temperature, high humidity environment, need to train one to two months in advance to avoid experiencing heatstroke,” Fujimoto told Reuters. “So, it makes sense that they come early to get used to the environment.

“It is a burden for your body if you move to a location where there is a very different average temperature.

“It is possible that unless you are prepared enough, the (sweat) glands will not be working properly by the time of a match.”

The All Blacks will face Tonga on September 7 before departing for Japan.

This article first appeared on nzherald.co.nz and was republished again with permission. 

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The extreme lengths some World Cup contenders are going to in preparation for Japan