Bok travel incredibly taxing
Auckland – Flying halfway across the world while sitting for close to 20 hours on a plane is not for the faint of heart.
But that is exactly what the Springbok team were faced with when they travelled to the land of the Long White Cloud to front up to the arch enemy, the mighty All Blacks, on home soil for two successive weeks.
And having gone though the whole experience myself, I have newfound respect for professional rugby players who constantly have to spend long arduous hours on planes to get to their destinations.
Having travelled quite a bit myself, I still haven’t encountered a journey as long and gruelling as the one I experienced this time around.
The two hour flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg was pleasant enough.
The highlight for me was feeling the 2010 Soccer World Cup vibe and interacting with hundreds of foreign soccer enthusiasts, watching Germany demolish Argentina at OR Tambo airport.
It also helped to kill five hours of my time while waiting to catch my connecting flight to Sydney.
The flight to Sydney however, is a killer.
Besides watching movies there is nothing else to do but try to get a little bit of shut eye.
The designs of the seats in economy class are not exactly ideal. While sitting in an upright position, you are squeezed in tightly like sardines in a can.
This is not conducive for someone needing some serious shut eye.
Landing in Sydney is a relief simply because it means you at least get a chance to stretch your legs.
But then there is still the traumatic experience of having to clear the tedious Australian customs in time for the last leg of the three hour journey to Auckland.
By the end of it all you are well and truly knackered. From a players point of view the last thing on your mind is having to front up to the all Black Haka in a few days time.
But like all professional teams, the Boks have a plan to counter this effect. Springbok team doctor, Craig Roberts walked around with a plate handing out medication to all the players and members of the management team just after their arrival at around 20:30 on Monday in the foyer of the Crowne Plaza.
Butch James and Francois Hougaard arrived at the hotel with only their hand luggage after the rest of their belongings did not arrive with the others at the airport.
It was not only the players and management who were feeling the after effects of the long journey but the journalists as well.
The doc explained to me that one tablet is to help to recover from jet lag, while the other one was a strong sleeping tablet.
I had not slept since my arrival on Sunday night and was already starting to feel like a zombie.
The Doc advised me to take both tablets at around midnight.
So, while writing this diary entry, I am already starting to feel drowsy.
With a bit of luck I wake will wake up refreshed and in time up to join the Boks at their practice session at Onewa Park on Tuesday.
Hopefully they would also have shrugged off that dreaded jet lag so that they can be well rested come Saturday.