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By Athenkosi Tsotsi

Sports Reporter

28 hours, 8 different planes — Bulls’ travel nightmare for Northampton clash

'Not many sporting teams will leave on eight different airlines on a Tuesday evening to play a Saturday night game.'

Bulls director of rugby, Jake White, says their travel schedule to England for their Champions Cup quarter-final clash with Northampton Saints on Saturday at Franklin’s Garden (kick-off at 9pm) is not ideal for a team involved in high-performance sport.

White expressed his concerns about the lack of travel preparations from SA Rugby this past Saturday in his post-match press conference following the Bulls’ last 16 win over Lyon when he lambasted Saru for not having their travel itinerary ready, saying they would struggle to get flights for his 40-plus member team.

‘Travelling comes at a cost’

The Bulls will travel to England on Tuesday night with the team spread into groups over eight different flights. White said the situation and long duration of the flights were not ideal.

“It’s not ideal … let’s be fair, for a high-performance sport; you’re talking about being competitive. Not many sporting teams will leave on eight different airlines on a Tuesday evening to play a Saturday night game,” White told the media.

“Whether we like it or not, that comes at a cost, whether we fly business class, and I’m very fortunate because our board pay business class for our starting team which is a fantastic gesture on their behalf and it is a massive bonus, but no sporting team flies 28 hours and with eight different aeroplanes, some to Birmingham, some to London, some land at nine, some two,” he said.

Not enough time to prep

The veteran coach said the travel schedule would disrupt their preparations for the game.

“We leave on Tuesday night. In an ideal world I would love to have left on Wednesday and landed on Thursday and prepped here on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday,” he said.

“When you leave here on Tuesday, guys are sore on Monday after a really tough game against Lyon. Now leaving on Tuesday, which gives you limited time … Monday they’re a bit sore, Tuesday you try to do as much prep as you can, you’re going to get there Thursday, and you can’t have two teams training against each because you don’t have enough players to tour. All those factors are important things.”