With travelling teams always at a disadvantage, the Lions have put all their plans in place to ensure the jetlag factor doesn’t become a major issue in this weekend’s Super Rugby final against the Crusaders in Christchurch.
The Lions flew out last night from OR Tambo International and it required a 12-hour flight to get to Sydney, where there will be a two-hour stop-over before embarking on a three-hour flight to Christchurch.
While the Lions will again apply the sunglasses effect which help to reduce the jetlag, coach Swys de Bruin said it’s different from just flying to Australia as this is a much longer journey.
“We have worked out that if everything goes according to plan we will arrive there at about 11pm on Tuesday evening,” he said.
“We will then use the four-hour cycle to stay ahead of the time zone. We will for instance only allow the players to eat by 11.30pm and only go to bed by 12.30 and let them sleep in till 11 o’clock in the morning,” he said.
Team doctor Rob Collins said the system worked well when they travelled to Sydney earlier in the competition to face the Waratahs.
“Our meal times will be different times of the day and our sleeping times will be at different times,” he said.
“It has been scientifically worked out.”
Collins said it basically worked on a principle where they are trying to stay in the South African time zone as far as possible.
“You can’t exactly stay in the SA time zone but we were only in a few time zones. It could also include training sessions at three o’clock in the afternoon, but if you let the players sleep till 11 o’clock it could essentially feel like a morning training session.”
Collins said therefore sleeping times and staying up are different, even though they might have to endure going through more time zones compared to the Sydney trip earlier.
“Jetlag doesn’t set in if you travel one time zone a day. It only sets in if you travel faster than one time zone a day. If you change eight time zones over eight days you don’t get jetlag.”