The British & Irish Lions today announced three major appointments for the 2017 tour to New Zealand, Head Analyst Rhodri Bown, Head of Medical Eanna Falvey and Head of Strength & Conditioning Paul Stridgeon will support head coach Warren Gatland and his coaching team on the 10-match tour.
The trio will join up with the Lions after the RBS 6 Nations, and Warren Gatland said: “Rhodri (Bown), Paul (Stridgeon) and Eanna (Falvey) have a lot of Lions experience, including being part of a winning team in 2013 and they know what is required for us to be successful in New Zealand. They will bring a wealth of knowledge and skill to their roles and I know they will fit well into the environment we are trying to create.”
Tour manager John Spencer, Gatland, Stridgeon and Falvey have just finished a ‘recce’ of New Zealand, visiting all seven match venues, training grounds, gyms and hotels in each city and town in preparation for the tour.
Spencer said: “It’s been a really useful 10 days. Preparation is critical to any tour and it’s important that we get the detail right – from the size of the players’ beds to what food they will eat, medical provision to training ground surfaces.
“We want the players to be able to concentrate on training and playing. We’ve had a great welcome and you can sense the excitement building ahead of June.”
Welsh Rugby Union Head of Performance Analysis Rhodri Bown joined the WRU as Performance Analyst in 2004 and was appointed to his current role in 2016.
Bown manages the performance analysis structure in Welsh rugby that includes national squads, age-grade sides, women’s, sevens and elite referees. He leads the three-man strong national squad analysis team and has been part of a Wales set-up that have won four RBS 6 Nations titles, including three Grand Slams.
He toured with the British & Irish Lions to South Africa in 2009 and to Australia in 2013.
Director of Sports Medicine at the Sports Surgery Clinic, Dublin and Senior Lecturer in Sports & Exercise Medicine, University College Cork, Dr, Eanna Falvey has been involved in the medical care of elite athletes for more than 15 years, working in rugby, football, boxing and Australian Rules football.
Part of the medical team in Australia in 2013, he was team doctor to the Ireland rugby team from 2009 to 2015 and doctor with Munster Rugby for four years from 2003 to 2007.
Dr. Falvey was the Irish Amateur Boxing Association high performance unit physician from 2009 to 2015 during a period of unrivalled success for Irish boxing, maintaining a link to his own sporting past where he was National Amateur Heavyweight and Super Heavyweight boxing champion, representing Ireland at the 2001 AIBA World Senior Boxing Championships. He is a member of the World Rugby Concussion working group.
Currently Head of Strength & Conditioning at Toulon, Paul ‘Bobby’ Stridgeon will be touring with Lions for a third time following 2009 in South Africa and the successful series win in Australia in 2013.
A former 60kg class wrestler for England and Great Britain at the 2002 European Championships and Commonwealth Games respectively, he worked with Warren Gatland at Wasps, helping to secure two Heineken Cups, three Premiership titles, a European Parker Pen Challenge Cup and Powergen Cup.
After a six-year stint with England, during which they won the 2011 RBS 6 Nations, he joined Toulon, preparing them to win the 2015 European Cup final and reach the French Top 14 final in 2016. In addition to his role with Toulon, he became WRU Consultant Head of Physical Performance in May 2015.