Brains and Brawn

In less than a year’s time 15 former Welsh Rugby captains will be setting off to climb Africa’s highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro, in a bid to raise £1million for the Stepping Stones Appeal at Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff. The event is the brainchild of Welsh Rugby photographer Huw Evans, whose family has recently been affected by lung cancer.

As headline sponsor of the ‘Brains SA Captains Climb’, Welsh brewer Brains is offering one member of its workforce the opportunity to join the captains on the challenge. But Brains isn’t giving up the place easily.

Fitness test newsThe employees who applied first had to get through a boot camp style fitness session, which was held at the WRU Centre of Excellence and hosted by conditioning coach Craig White.

Craig put the team through their paces with a series of exercises normally reserved for the elite players, including running with a weighted vest, weighted squats and sled runs– although the weights were lightened for the novices.

Ffion Jones was one of those taking part in yesterday’s test. She said: "I didn’t know what to expect when we were told about the fitness test. I imagined it would be similar to your normal circuit training class but I wasn’t expecting all the technical equipment that you normally see the WRU squad using on the TV! Craig really put us through our paces and showed us exactly what we’d go through by replicating the weights we’d carry and the strengths needed to tackle the mountain. Although it was tough, everybody seemed to enjoy themselves and it certainly didn’t put me off climbing Kilimanjaro if I got the chance!"

With all employees passing the test, it will now be left up to the Chairman to draw a name from a hat to decide who gets to take part in the historic climb.

You can support the climb and donate online by visiting