The British & Irish Lions Tour

Another four years have passed, and the world famous British & Irish Lions will be preparing to tour South Africa this year – hoping to build on the 2013 and 2017 tours of Australia and New Zealand, which culminated in a winning and tied series respectively.

Today marked the announcement of Gatland’s squad, as well as confirming altitude training fan Alun-Wyn Jones as the captain who will lead the Lions into battle.

But what difficulties does a series in South Africa pose, that Australia and New Zealand do not? Aside from the current COVID regulations, a Lions tour to South Africa involves the challenge of playing and training at altitude. But why might that affect the players?

High altitude, low oxygen

When you perform at altitude, the air is thinner and less oxygen rich – meaning that it will be more difficult for the players to recover between hits, breakdowns, and lung busting breaks – but it also means that the ball will fly differently, so the kicking game could be crucial.

Preparing for altitude

This is something that we are particularly well versed in, and you can be sure that Gatland’s team will be taking into account as well. Wales’ & The Lions Head of Performance, Paul ‘Bobby’ Stridgeon, has already confirmed that the players will be going through the same altitude training that the Welsh squad did in preparation for the Six Nations while talking to ‘The Good, The Bad & The Rugby’ podcast. Ahead of the tour they will be looking for both the performance, and acclimatisation benefits that altitude training can bring.

Dan Lydiate recovering during his repeated sprints session at 4000m.


We suggest you keep your eyes peeled for exactly what that looks like when the players meet up in June!


If you have any questions about how altitude training can help you acclimatise, or improve your performance, be sure to get in touch with your goals and a member of the team will be happy to help.