Vodacom Super 14

Chiefs find Boks in their beds

2009-05-26 06:58
Ian Foster (Gallo)
Pretoria - The South Africans are up to their old tricks, forcing a last-minute hotel change on the Chiefs after a double-booking in Pretoria that sees the Springboks get their beds for the week.

The Chiefs only found out about the matter en route to South Africa and were forced into some rushed rearrangements to find an alternative as the Boks squad settled into the traditional rugby option in a city of limited alternatives.

But the Chiefs weren't too disappointed when their weary squad eventually arrived in the South African they seemed to have got the better deal, being placed in the comparative luxury of the Sheraton just up the road.

It was more the simple hassle of the matter and being displaced from the familiarity of the other hotel which they had used when they played the Bulls in Pretoria five weeks ago.

But considering the enormity of the rematch this weekend, and the Chiefs preparing for their first final on the back of an arduous travel schedule, it had a suspicious air to it.

Clearly the Springboks plans have been known for some time. They are in camp in Pretoria training for their Friday fixture against a Namibian XV in Windhoek that is their only warmup before meeting the British & Irish Lions in a highly anticipated three Test series.

Chiefs coach Ian Foster played the diplomat in "embassy city", refusing to buy into any conspiracy theories by saying: "It's just a miscommunication with SANZAR. I'm not sure how it worked. But we are just happy to be here."

While the players and management were clearly tired as they checked into their hotel, Foster was confident his squad was experienced enough with the arduous travel schedules to get over that hurdle. That certainly won't be used as an excuse in a week where excitement envelopes the players.

"It's been a long day given that we were up at 03:00 New Zealand time. But it's gone well, the guys have slept well on the planes and the next couple of days we just have to catch up."

Further sleep followed by a morning training session were on their immediate schedule.

"We have always found it's good to get out on the training park early when you get here," said Foster.

"The intensity won't be high. But it's important to get out on the park and run around. We will have a bit of a fun session on Wednesday morning."

Disappointed at having to leave major strike weapon Sitiveni Sivivatu at home, Foster was confident of having two other All Blacks fit for the final. He gave centre Richard Kahui (calf) and big No 8 Sione Lauaki (neck) "pretty good" chances of making the kickoff at Loftus Versfeld.

"They are here because we have been given medical advice that they are cleared and should be ready and available," said Foster.

"At this stage we are planning on both of them being available. We will see what happens during the week but they are clearly too important players."


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