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You must have fun playing rugby by David Clarke
June 26, 2009, 8:36 am
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Fitness | Tags: , , ,

On a long tour, certain characters make a real difference.

Here is a really interesting interview that Bryn Palmer, the BBC sports blogger had with Paul Stridgeon, a key conditioner with current Lions.

‘Bobby’ keeps the Lions in mint condition
Bryn Palmer | 14:44 PM, Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Cape Town, Wednesday

The Lions have embraced most of the challenges they have encountered on this South Africa tour head on.

The on-field ones might have escalated this week, but away from the rugby there remains one that no squad member fancies, despite encouragement from the coaches.

Forwards coach Warren Gatland and defence guru Shaun Edwards have both offered tempting bets to any player who can ‘bring down’ the squad’s physical conditioner Paul Stridgeon, a former freestyle wrestler who competed for England at the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

At 5ft 8in and 76kg (12 stone) he is a good deal smaller and lighter than all of them and dwarfed by the “big beasts” in the party, but is proud of the fact that no rugby player has ever got the better of him.

This may have something to what happened to the Lions’ assistant forwards coach Graham Rowntree, the former Leicester and England prop, when Stridgeon started working for the Rugby Football Union last summer.

“Graham took on the challenge when I first started with England, and I killed him in front of all the lads,” he recalled. “They enjoyed that.”

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