'They speak four very different versions of English'
WATCH as Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen and captain Burger Odendaal speak about the joys and differences of switching from Super Rugby to the United Rugby Championship.
The captain, Odendaal, spoke of the challenges of dealing with the massive time zone differences and travelling to Australasia – which took an enormous physical toll on the players as one of the major ‘improvements’.
“Not having that time zone [challenge] makes a massive difference,” Odendaal said.
He added that after an initial 10-day isolation period at the start of the trip, they have since had ‘time off’ to go do some sightseeing and enjoy their European venture.
Coach Ivan van Rooyen pointed to the obvious difference between Super Rugby and URC tours – the absence of significant jet lag.
“We spend a bit more time [travelling] in the bus than in Super Rugby,” the coach said about the difference in travel routines between games – which means fewer air miles.
For the biggest number of players, it is their first tour to the United Kingdom and Ireland.
“It is exciting, it’s new,” Van Rooyen said.
“They speak four very different versions of English,” he said of the Welsh, Scottish and Irish dialects.
“It is awesome picking up the accents and the personalities. We thoroughly enjoyed the trip.”
He also touched on the smaller stadiums – from the 5,000-seater capacity of Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi for their opening match, through Parc y Scarlets (15,000) and Scotstoun Stadium (5,000).
This is much smaller than the Lions’ home ground, Ellis Park, with its 62,000-seater capacity.
“It feels like 50,000 or 60,000 people at Ellis Park or Loftus Versfeld,” Van Rooyen said about the massive international stadia used by South African franchises.
He also touched on the ‘rugby culture’ of Europe.
Watch the interview below …