Sean O’Brien & Adam Jones Recall Warren Gatland’s Brutal “Collision Corridor” Lions Training Drill

Brutal.

Lions head coach Warren Gatland has built up a bit of reputation over the years in terms of the style of rugby he likes his team to play.

Big strong forwards, tough centres that don’t take a step back, and just physical teams that have no problem getting in the faces of their opposition and let them know it’s gonna be a tough 80 minutes.

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And a lot of that comes from how his teams train. While a lot of teams tend to do very little contact in training these days, due mostly to the incredible workload on players, Gatland appears to like to keep some ‘old school’ drills part of his sessions.

Speaking on Episode 1 of the brand new Lions edition of House of Rugby, which will run for the duration of the tour, Sean O’Brien and Adam Jones recalled some of Gatland’s most brutal drills.

“The two ones that stick out in my mind are the minute drill and then you have the offload drill – which we weren’t actually allowed to offload in,” Jones laughed.

“So you’ve got three defenders, three defenders – you’ve basically got six against… you’ve got to get through them and score at the end. But like, I remember doing the drill, I think we got through once, a few offloads, Shaun Edwards going nuts ‘why you offloading?’ and we’re like ‘it’s the offload drill?’..

“’TAKE CONTACT! [Shaun Edwards accent].”

“’So it’s not the offload drill?”

O’Brien recalled a drill called “collision corridor” that’s painful just to think about.

“Remember that collision corridor?” O’Brien said.

“Rather than have three defenders, they had two, two, and two. And it was like four attackers, and you just get in, there were some big hits going in!”

“You only do it for a couple of minutes, but that’s it, that’s the contact element of it.

“But I do remember the real narrow one we did in 2017, probably the second week we were there, the third week maybe. And I got some shock to the system!

“It was literally like a five-metre channel with two defenders in it and you’ve three against two. You’re just banging into bodies! You only do like two or three reps around the circuit – but afterwards, I was like ‘this is mental what we’re doing here!’ because there’s no space like.

“You’ll probably know more, Bomb [Adam Jones] but Gats actually likes that type of stuff. It’s kind of like a bit of a ‘juice up’ to see who wants it more.”

Jones added that these drill are rarely ‘technical’ but rather more of a test to see if his players really want it and to see “who’s got the nuts!”

“It’s not technical. He wants to see who’s got the nuts!” Jones added.

“You’re not gonna go through the fine details of what angle you’re gonna hit the ruck. Sometimes you’ve just gotta hit the ruck! And that’s it. That’ll be a big part of it. If he sees boys shying away…

Episode 1 of House of Rugby’s brand new Lions show is embedded below. You can also listen to it wherever you get your podcasts with Episode 2 also available now too.