Travelling pains for Crusaders

Tue, 01 Aug 2017 08:19

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The Crusaders’ journey to South Africa could put the New Zealanders on the backfoot when their take to the field come Saturday. 

After their 27-13 semi-final win over the Chiefs in Christchurch at the weekend, the Crusaders travelled more than 13 000 kilometres and 16 hours for the final against the Lions.

According to Stuff,  Crusaders' heavy Super Rugby schedule ahead of the final is a huge disadvantage compared to the Lions’ campaigns.

The Lions secured a final spot without playing any New Zealand franchise in the round-robin and have the privilege of three play-off matches at home in Johannesburg.

"Evidence does suggest if you are significantly jet lagged your performance will drop,"  New Zealand Rugby medical chief Ian Murphy told

"It's around precision activities as well. It's how coordinated you are and how good your reaction times are and that sort of thing.

"There is a reason home advantage is exactly that. Home advantage and the issues the travelling team face around jet-lag and time zones and the fact they're travelling long distances. Between all that [The Lions] have got an advantage before you start,"  he added.

The Crusaders left Christchurch on Sunday and will have a week to prepare in Johannesburg.

Murphy said the effects of jet lag can be mitigated, but can never fully be overcome in a short turnaround of one week.

Super Rugby history shows travel for playoffs can kill the momentum of a winning side.

In 2011 the Crusaders travelled more than 110 000km during the season and 31 937km for the finals alone only to lose to the Reds in Brisbane.

The 2013 Brumbies covered 25 056km during the finals but were outgunned in the second half of the decider against the Chiefs.

The Chiefs of 2009 trekked to Pretoria for a final against the Bulls and were beaten 61-17.


There are currently no matches being played
Sun, 22 October 2017
Montpellier v Exeter Chiefs 12h00 Altrad Stadium
La Rochelle v Ulster 14h15 Paris
Wasps v Harlequins 16h30 Ricoh Arena
Fri, 27 October 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Kings 18h35 Scotstoun Stadium
Sale Sharks v Exeter Chiefs 18h45 AJ Bell Stadium
Ospreys v Dragons 19h35 Liberty Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Munster 19h35 Sportsground
Sat, 28 October 2017
Treviso v Edinburgh 14h00 Stadio Monigo
Harlequins v Worcester Warriors 14h00 Twickenham
Saracens v London Irish 14h00 Allianz Park
Northampton Saints v Wasps 14h00 Franklin's Gardens
Sharks v Western Province 14h00 Kings Park, Durban
Ulster v Leinster 17h15 Kingspan Stadium
Scarlets v Cardiff Blues 18h35 Parc y Scarlets
Zebre v Cheetahs 19h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28