Microsoft’s partnership with The British & Irish Lions delivered a fantastic result. Alongside this, The Lions achieved their first series victory for 16 years. The Lions' backroom staff, including Adam Beard, Head of Strength and Conditioning and Dr Brian Cunniffe who was the Sports Scientist in the fitness department were on the front line when it came to making sure the players were fit, healthy and happy whilst away from home.
On a grueling, 10 game Tour, fitness and conditioning was always going to play a key role in the outcome of the Test series. In partnership with Microsoft, a performance monitoring app was developed for use on the team’s Surface RT devices. The app itself was designed in a way that encouraged players to be more open and honest about a range of wellbeing and fitness issues. For example, every morning, each player was asked to update the app with a range of data. Categories such as ‘quality of sleep’, ‘do you feel any pain anywhere?’ and a weight entry were used by the team to gather real time data on each player. The team found this approach particularly useful in keeping tabs on any aches and niggles that players were feeling, especially in the recovery period post match.
“In sport it is quite unusual to talk a unified approach to player’s well-being”, said Adam Beard. “On this Tour we have unified condition, fitness and health in a way that makes it easier to track and monitor how our players are progressing. The Microsoft Player Monitoring app has helped us achieve that fantastically and I know that my colleagues on the backroom staff have found it enormously useful in making sure our guys were in tip top condition.”
Microsoft Ambassador, Former British & Irish Lion and RWC Winner, Will Greenwood was our man in Oz for the entire Tour, blogging and tweeting his way down under, supporting the team and generally being an all round fountain of rugby knowledge to those that followed his progress. For a man that has ‘been there and done that’, in the heat of Lions battles in the past, his insight and relationship with the players proved to be fascinating to read about. Here he is telling us about just what he was planning to do
In a series that was settled by fine margins, it’s not unfair to say that Microsoft was able to deliver a distinct advantage over the Wallabies in a crucial area of the sport. All in all, a successful partnership that will live in the memory for many years to come.