The odds are stacked against the Bulls for their quarterfinal against the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday because of in their departure time.
Expecting to leave on Sunday afternoon, the Bulls flight was changed by the Sanzaar booking office to Monday afternoon due to logistical problems.
But why the emphasis on how difficult it is for a South African side playing in Australasia to win a play-off – even more so for an Australasian side to travel to South Africa?
The mere fact that the Crusaders last year became the first side to win a final after travelling across the Indian Ocean (and in their case also the Tasman Sea) is perhaps indicative of how difficult it is to travel and win.
Of the 22 play-off matches in Australasia by South African sides since 1996, not a single one has ended in victory for the travelling side.
♦ The Bulls, who left from Johannesburg to Wellington in New Zealand on Monday afternoon for their quarterfinal play-off against the Hurricanes, are given little chance of winning; firstly because of the 10 hours time difference and the time it took getting there, but also because they had to fly from west to east. And they play the side that has won the most matches this year!
How jetlag affects the body
Jetlag in a nutshell according to https://onlinedoctor.lloydspharmacy.com/blog/jet-lag-east-or-west/ is when the normal sleep pattern is disturbed after a long flight.
Symptoms of jet lag usually last for a few days while your body physically adjusts to the new time zone before settling into the patterns of your new time zone.
Flying to a new time zone causes our internal clock to go out of sync with the time at our destination and then the body has to re-establish a natural rhythm. This is where jet lag comes in.
In short, your body’s natural rhythm follows a 24.5-hour day, slightly longer than the standard 24-hour sun-up, sun-down rhythm. That means that if you’re travelling east over many time zones, you’ll ‘lose’ additional time.
In a way, you’re travelling forwards in terms of hours and days, arriving ahead of yourself which requires your body to be ‘advanced’.
How jetlag will affect the Bulls
In the case of the Bulls, this is how they will experience the jet leg flying east:
- Take off in Johannesburg at 16:00 on Monday and fly for 22 hours to Wellington, which is ten hours ahead in time.
- On SA time, they land at 14:00 on Tuesday. Their bodies will be looking forward to a dinner and a night’s sleep.
- On Wellington time, they took off at 02:00 on Tuesday and arrived at midnight on Wednesday morning. Arriving in the middle of the night effectively means they missed a night’s sleep – they’re jumping ahead to the next day.
How the Bulls will try to curb jetlag effects
The change in their flight time meant the Bulls had to change their planning for the week and had to finalise their on-field preparation before boarding the plane on Monday afternoon.
It will also mean they would arrive in New Zealand at midnight on Tuesday – and with much needed rest they will only have one day of training before the captain's run and the match. The situation is worsened because they only arrived back from New Zealand Saturday a week ago.
The Bulls will therefore take it easy and only have a loosener on Wednesday, then a captain's run on Thursday and the Friday off before Saturday's game.