SA Rugby defend Bulls’ Champions Cup travel plans after White criticism

The Bulls take on Northampton in a Champions Cup quarterfinal this weekend.

South African Rugby said on Tuesday it had no choice but to book the Bulls’ players and coaches on eight separate flights for this weekend’s Champions Cup quarter-final with Northampton.

Earlier in the day, the Bulls’ director of rugby Jake White had slammed the decision by the governing body before Saturday’s last-eight game in England.

The quarter-finals ties were only confirmed late on Sunday, giving SA Rugby a short window of time to buy tickets for the 38-person travelling party.

‘Demand for seats’

“Media will appreciate that the high demand for business class seats in and out of South Africa, allied to the reduced number of flights into the country and the late confirmation of the required seats made it well-known to all parties that securing business class seats on a single flight would be impossible,” SA Rugby said in a statement.

“Pre-booking seats was discounted as an option in view of the potential risk of loss of 100 percent of the flight cost for a group booking, should it not be required as it was unknown until 48 hours before departure whether the Bulls would qualify, or be playing home or away (in the event of qualification).

“SA Rugby believes that the flights sourced by SA Rugby for the Bulls (at a cost to SA Rugby of R4 108 449.00/ $222,639) represent the very best outcome it was possible to achieve in the circumstances,” it added.