In preparation for their Super Rugby final clash against the Lions on Saturday night, the Hurricanes were seen today at Rugby League Park in the company of local ambulance staff who were demonstrating to players how to perform the Heimlich Manoeuvre.
“Obviously in previous years we haven’t been properly prepared for an entirely predictable closing or blockage of the windpipe,” said Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd, “So under my watch I’m not leaving any stone un-turned this year.”
Wellington Free Ambulance staff donned team jerseys during the three hour session to ensure that Hurricanes players wouldn’t hesitate in reacting to signs that any of their fellow teammates were experienced signs of restricted breathing on Saturday night.
“Keeping the esophagus free of blockages and allowing air to pass clearly through it is a hugely important focus for the team this week,” said captain Dane Coles.
“It was great having already gone through these drills with the All Blacks at the last World Cup, which meant I was able to devote more time to helping some of the younger guys in the side,” added Coles.
For his part assistant coach John Plumtree said that he’d learnt all too well in his previous stint coaching the Wellington Lions that such drills were vital preparation for a final.
“Unobstructed airways are key in a big match like this,” said Plumtree. “It’s vital that air remains circulating at all costs otherwise the team will not succeed.”
At the conclusion of training players were also seen being issued with new team jerseys with specially designed wider collars in a move team management said would help reduce the change of choking.