KSA Shark ©

Sleepless in South Africa

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, Super 14 on 26 May 2009 at 07:16
Tagged with : , , ,

Duncan Johnstone of Stuff.co.nz gives his opinion on jetlag.

There’s a new daily greeting that has replaced the traditional ”good morning” on the rushed trips to South Africa by the Crusaders and Chiefs for these Super 14 playoffs.

It goes something like ”how did you sleep?”

Sometimes expletives are added in to emphasise the enormity and significance of the query.

As the sole New Zealand media representative in their midst, players and management have even been polite enough to direct the same enquiry to me as we’ve crossed paths in the hotel breakfast areas.

They know what I’ve been going through, just as I understand the struggles they have had to get their body clocks adjusted.

I’ve just been thankful that I haven’t had to face the massive on-field challenges against the Bulls – late afternoon is normally when I have finally succumbed to tiredness and taken a wee siesta in between servicing the never-ending deadlines for Fairfax’s various publications.

My departure from New Zealand was similar to theirs although it didn’t quite involve the 3am bus trip from Hamilton to Auckland that the Chiefs had to endure before they even got on a plane to start the long trek to Pretoria.

But it was equally rushed. Like the teams we had been awaiting the outcomes of matches that would determine last minute departures. It was a case of arriving at the office to suddenly be told you’ll be on a flight in two and half hours. Go home, get packed and don’t forget your laptop or your passport.

I reckon I might have had it tougher than them in some ways. Flight availabilities meant I took the long route through Singapore with a six-hour stopover there. It all added up to a 27-hour mission to get to my Johannesburg hotel.

But it turned out getting there was the easy bit. Getting to sleep was far more difficult.

In contrast waking up was simple. The only problem was it came at 2.30am the first day. Things tended to progress by about an hour with each passing night.

The trouble for the players is they don’t have many nights before these games, hence the ”how did you sleep?” line at the breakfast bar. Everyone seems to enjoy hearing each others struggles and there have been quite a few comparisons.

Richie McCaw said he’d crashed out at about 11.30 one night and woke up thinking he’d had a great night’s sleep. When he checked his clock it was 12.30am. Been there, done that.

The trouble is getting back to sleep. Your body might be tired but your mind is awake. Stories ideas raced through mine while Richie was preoccupied with ways to counter the likes of Bakkies Botha and Pierre Spies. He didn’t say he had any nightmares about dropped goals – they are probably plaguing him now back in New Zealand.

When Andy Ellis pulled out of the Crusaders first training run with sore ribs he got a real ribbing. He’d been afforded the luxury of a first class seat (make that bed) on the flight over as he nursed the recurring injury from the match against the Blues the day before. ”Heck Andy, what a waste. If I’d known you were only going to last one training run I would have gone to first class myself,” said coach Todd Blackadder. He was only half joking.

One morning Leon MacDonald revealed he’d had a particularly bad night. Awake at 1am he tried vainly to get back to sleep until 3am. He didn’t have a sleeping pill that the players rely in so heavily. Being the gentlemen that he is, he couldn’t bring himself to wake the team doctor and ask for another ”little bluey” at that hour.

So he watched TV – been there, done that – enjoying the 23 channels that include seven sports options. Still restless, he wandered around the hotel a bit just to stretch his legs that were still on Kiwi time. And it’s not like you can walk outside here – you take your life into your own hands.

That can become apparent as you lie awake and listen to the night outside. The Pretoria hotel takes up virtually a whole block, being surrounded by three busy roads. Sirens wail leaving little to the imagination.

There was a major pileup down from my room at 3.30am the other night. I couldn’t resist getting up to check it out from the safety of my window. One car was in bad shape but fortunately no one appeared to be injured. Not from the crash anyway. People emerged from all corners, tow trucks arrived and arguments broke out. I was just waiting for the gun shot that might have woken everyone up.

Fortunately that didn’t eventuate but the departing police car couldn’t resist turning on its siren back on when it did eventually leave the scene.

So, a week and a half into my trip I’m kind of back in sync.

Now I’m feeling real sorry for the Chiefs. They are virtually a day behind the Crusaders at the same time last week after the red and blacks had broken up their trip with a Sydney stopover.

The Chiefs didn’t have time for that. It’s the nature of the business. When you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go. The problem is when you’ve gotta sleep, it isn’t always that simple.


  • By the Same author.

    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.

    😈 😈

    Kry vir Julle!!!!!!

  • Comment 1, posted at 26.05.09 07:25:17 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 1) :

    I hope Suzie is employed at the hotel they are staying at… 😈

  • Comment 2, posted at 26.05.09 07:42:08 by wpw Reply
  • the Boks squad settled into the traditional rugby option

    And your point is?
    Bokke first!!!

    in a city of limited alternatives.

  • Comment 3, posted at 26.05.09 07:56:23 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • I chuckle when ever I read these cries of anguish, we do this all the time and in the first couple of years we never even complained, could not happen to nicer people, and don’t get me wrong I really do like New Zealanders as opposed to their twit cousins across the tasmin whom I really can’t stand purely because of their bloody arrogance, hence my enjoyment when none of their sides made the semi’s long may it last!!

  • Comment 4, posted at 26.05.09 08:00:51 by Whindy Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition Winner
  • @blackshark (Comment 3) :

    The The Holiday inn / Crowne Plaza in PTA is where all the S14 or International sides stay when they play in PTA.

    If you are a stalker type, this is the place to stay to see your team over the match weekend.

  • Comment 5, posted at 26.05.09 08:24:03 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 1) : Bout time we get onto that shyte, been happening to us for years.

  • Comment 6, posted at 26.05.09 08:27:02 by Claytie Reply
  • What happened with the notion of staying at the coast until match day.

  • Comment 7, posted at 26.05.09 08:48:42 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • Supply all travellers with a compilation of Warraths least / most attractive matches – that should do it within 15 minutes.

  • Comment 8, posted at 26.05.09 08:51:12 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @Salmonoid (Comment 8) : 😀

  • Comment 9, posted at 26.05.09 08:52:31 by Whindy Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition Winner
  • what are they complaining about? It’s a known fact that traveling east to west is far kinder on the body than going the other way

  • Comment 10, posted at 26.05.09 08:52:37 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 10) :
    But do they know that they travelled east to west?

  • Comment 11, posted at 26.05.09 08:56:20 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • Its about time we treated them like Baffana Baffana gets treated when they travel into Africa. Cockroach infested hotels with no bedding or food. the worst training facilities in the city and a mob outside the hotel making a noise with everything including the kitchen sink until sunrise.
    Welcome to South Africa.

  • Comment 12, posted at 26.05.09 08:59:55 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • yawn. 😮 and we want to stay in the super rugby tournament, why? it doesn’t make sense. it is player killer and it really is becoming tiresome.

  • Comment 13, posted at 26.05.09 09:43:43 by try time (superrugby's kryptonite is SANZAR) Reply

  • @blackshark (Comment 3) : Boo to that avatar!!!

  • Comment 14, posted at 26.05.09 10:02:40 by Rahul Reply

  • “Building a blue legacy
    09:24am | A victory for the Bulls on Saturday would move the Pretoria-based team into the top three on the all-time Super Rugby achievers list. We speak to Victor Matfield about that prospect.”-iAfrica

    i saw this and laughed, they cannot beat the sharks record. the sharks have the number one position for super rugby chokers of all time.

  • Comment 15, posted at 26.05.09 10:09:37 by try time (superrugby's kryptonite is SANZAR) Reply

  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 1) :

    😆 Rugby 365’s take on the situation. 😆

    New Zealanders just love a good conspiracy theory. They are still desperately clinging to ‘Suzy’ the waitress for their loss in the 1995 World Cup Final and English referee Wayne Barnes remains public enemy No.1 after the Kiwis’ last exit from a World Cup.

    Now the New Zealand media have a readymade excuse should the Chiefs lose to the Bulls in the Super 14 Final at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

    A double hotel booking in Pretoria had the Kiwi media screaming in banner headlines: ‘Chiefs find Springboks in their beds’.

    And they did not mince their words either, claiming ‘The South Africans are up to their old tricks’.

    Even though the Chiefs were upgraded to the more luxurious Sheraton, the “last-minute” hotel change earned more column centimetres and prominence in some media outlets in New Zealand than the more significant injury situation in the Chiefs team.

  • Comment 16, posted at 26.05.09 10:27:22 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @Rahul (Comment 14) : agree!

  • Comment 17, posted at 26.05.09 10:29:34 by Me2 Reply

    Me2 aka Mama Shark
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 16) : Agh shame!!!

  • Comment 18, posted at 26.05.09 10:31:14 by Me2 Reply

    Me2 aka Mama Shark
  • Saturday is going to be Awesome.

    14:30 – 17:00 MNET/SS1 Lions Tour To SA: Royal XV v British & Irish Lions
    17:00 – 20:00 MNET/SS1 Rugby Super 14: Final – Bulls v Chiefs

    And before, after and inbetween all that there is still the Edinburgh IRB 7s series on.

    😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎

  • Comment 19, posted at 26.05.09 10:31:28 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @Me2 (Comment 17) : BORING 🙄 😈 🙄

  • Comment 20, posted at 26.05.09 10:31:56 by Charlie Reply

  • @Me2 (Comment 18) :

    My sentiments exactly.

    SUFFER you Bast…… 😉

  • Comment 21, posted at 26.05.09 10:32:18 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 19) : What about the Boks warm-up game ? 👿

  • Comment 22, posted at 26.05.09 10:32:35 by Charlie Reply

  • BTW, KSA, my kid is just loving the heat of Dubai!

  • Comment 23, posted at 26.05.09 10:32:58 by Me2 Reply

    Me2 aka Mama Shark
  • @Charlie (Comment 20) : Never!!! 😆

  • Comment 24, posted at 26.05.09 10:34:54 by Me2 Reply

    Me2 aka Mama Shark
  • @Me2 (Comment 23) :

    😳 Very hot again today. 😳

    But I only have 12 days before I’m in a “freezing” PTN. 😎 😎

  • Comment 25, posted at 26.05.09 10:36:35 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @Me2 (Comment 17) : Good times!

  • Comment 26, posted at 26.05.09 10:36:46 by Claytie Reply
  • @Charlie (Comment 22) :

    Not interested.

    And that is both ME and Supersport who are not interested. 😉

  • Comment 27, posted at 26.05.09 10:37:13 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @Me2 (Comment 17) : I am seriously worried about tomorrow night 😕

  • Comment 28, posted at 26.05.09 10:43:32 by Rahul Reply

  • @Rahul (Comment 28) :

    No need to Worriy, my Superbru pick says that Manchester United will win 2 – 0.

    My SB is pretty good 😉

  • Comment 29, posted at 26.05.09 10:47:18 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @Rahul (Comment 28) : I’m not really…I think the lads are still very hungry for this title. 😀

  • Comment 30, posted at 26.05.09 10:47:33 by Me2 Reply

    Me2 aka Mama Shark
  • I reckon Barca are gonna thrash you tomorrow nite!!! 🙄

  • Comment 31, posted at 26.05.09 10:53:21 by wpw Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 31) :

    YOU reckon?

    you also reckonned Liverpool would be Champions now, And i ain’t even gonna mention the Stormers. 😉

  • Comment 32, posted at 26.05.09 11:00:35 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 32) :

    Firstly, I didn’t say we WILL be Champions!!! I said we stand a chance (unlike Leeds of course)

    Secondly, who are the Stormers??? 😈

  • Comment 33, posted at 26.05.09 11:02:10 by wpw Reply
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 32) : 😆

  • Comment 34, posted at 26.05.09 11:03:19 by Claytie Reply
  • @Rahul (Comment 14) :

    Your defenders will see a lot of this view tomorrow… :mrgreen:

  • Comment 35, posted at 26.05.09 11:07:08 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 32) :
    @wpw (Comment 33) :

    Umm, I think you should take this conversation to http://www.ilovethepansysport.com

  • Comment 36, posted at 26.05.09 11:07:22 by Ollie Reply

  • @blackshark (Comment 35) : 😆

  • Comment 37, posted at 26.05.09 11:07:51 by wpw Reply
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 19) :

    Awesome lineup… 😎

  • Comment 38, posted at 26.05.09 11:09:10 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • David Nucifora (Auckland) talking about Troy Flavell “I told him, ‘Son, what is it with you. Is it ignorance or apathy?’ He said, ‘David, I don’t know and I don’t care.’

    David Holwell (Hurricanes) when asked about the upcoming season: “I want to reach for 150 or 200 points this season, whichever comes first.”

    “I’ve never had major knee surgery on any other part of my body.” – Jerry Collins

    “That kick was absolutely unique, except for the one before it which was identical.” – Tony Brown

    “I owe a lot to my parents, especially my mother and father.” – Tana Umaga

    “Sure there have been injuries and deaths in rugby – but none of them serious.” – Doc Mayhew

    “If history repeats itself, I should think we can expect the same thing again.” – Anton Oliver

    Murray Mexted: “Have you ever thought of writing your autobiography?”
    Tana Umaga: “On what?”

    “Strangely, in slow motion replay, the ball seemed to hang in the air for even longer.” – Murray Mexted

    “Every time I went to tackle him, Horrocks went one way, Taylor went the other, and all I got was the bloody hyphen.” – Nick England on trying to stop Phil Horrocks-Taylor

    “I think you enjoy the game more if you don’t know the rules. Anyway, you’re on the same wavelength as the referees.” – Jonathan Davies

    “The relationship between the Welsh and the English is based on trust and understanding. They don’t trust us and we don’t understand them.” – Former RFU supremo Dudley Wood on Anglo-Welsh relations.

    “If you can’t take a punch, you should play table tennis.” – Former French skipper and coach Pierre Berbizier illustrates his nation’s attitude to on-pitch violence.

  • Comment 39, posted at 26.05.09 11:12:22 by wpw Reply
  • @Ollie (Comment 36) :

    Hey the link is broken. 😆 🙄

  • Comment 40, posted at 26.05.09 11:16:38 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 40) :
    So is my interest in that conversation. 🙂

  • Comment 41, posted at 26.05.09 11:24:37 by Ollie Reply

  • @Ollie (Comment 41) :


  • Comment 42, posted at 26.05.09 11:26:47 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @Ollie (Comment 41) : 🙄 Heart bleeds for you 😆

  • Comment 43, posted at 26.05.09 11:53:03 by Me2 Reply

    Me2 aka Mama Shark
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 5) : good to know 😎

  • Comment 44, posted at 27.05.09 03:45:13 by Lyndy_in_Mtl Reply

  • @Lyndy_in_Mtl (Comment 44) : :mrgreen:

  • Comment 45, posted at 27.05.09 05:35:17 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©

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