Lions on 50 000km tour for 3 games


Johanensburg - Stamina and endurance are prerequisites in surviving the 20-week battle of Super Rugby. That’s just required on the field of play.

Spare a thought for the players and coaching teams who also have to criss-cross their way around the globe, and even more so now that Argentina’s Jaguares and Japan’s Sunwolves are involved in the most demanding rugby competition in the world.

It is true that South African teams no longer have to spend four or five weeks touring Australia and New Zealand, but the addition of the Jaguares and Sunwolves means that all the teams now have additional destinations on their schedules. Time in the air and distances travelled for games will only escalate.

The Lions left OR Tambo International Airport in two groups on Tuesday afternoon, one on their way to Singapore, the other to Dubai, with their final destination being Tokyo for their match against the Sunwolves on Saturday.

They will also play matches against the Chiefs (Hamilton) and Highlanders (Dunedin), so by the time they return to Johannesburg on Monday, March 14, Johan Ackermann’s team will have spent between 63 and 67 hours in the air, depending on which group has gone via Singapore or Dubai.

The distance travelled will have been between 47 000 and 50 000 kilometres.

In total, for three matches, the Lions will have boarded nine flights and crossed several time zones.

Added to this, they will have travelled nearly 200km by bus - from Auckland to Hamilton, and then on to Rotorua. This does not include time spent in buses to and from training venues, airports and match-day venues.

The Lions will have visited eight different cities just to play three matches.

Five days after returning to Johannesburg, the 36-man squad, which includes management members, host the Cheetahs in a round four match at Ellis Park.

And then fans expect them to be on top of their game, to not make mistakes, to not show fatigue and to win, at all costs.

It’s a tough old game, is Super Rugby.

The Star

Original source: Lions on 50 000km tour for 3 games