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SA Rugby clears the air over Bulls' travel arrangements

SPOTLIGHT: SA Rugby has explained the Bulls’ travel arrangements for their Champions Cup quarterfinal after Jake White expressed his dissatisfaction with the process.

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After his side’s 59-19 win over Lyon in a Round of 16 match last weekend, White fired shots at SA Rugby over their lack of communication and the travel logistics that his team would face on their way to England this week to face Northampton Saints.

On Tuesday, ahead of the squad’s departure for England, White made it clear his team’s travel arrangements were “not ideal” and that his squad “would leave on eight different airlines on a Tuesday evening to play a Saturday night game”.

READ: ‘Eight different flights not fair’ says White on travel nightmare 

SA Rugby then issued a media advisory explaining the travel arrangements and why pre-booking seats was not a viable option.

See SA Rugby’s explanation below:

Bulls travel arrangements

Media are advised that SA Rugby provided 38 flights for the Bulls’ Champions Cup quarterfinal squad – 33 in business class and five in economy class. The playing squad will arrive in London before 08.00 local time on Wednesday having travelled overnight in business class on two airlines: British Airways (24 players and management) and Lufthansa (4 players and management).

The coach and CEO also flew directly to London overnight on Virgin in business class. The balance of eight of the tour squad (four management and four players) travelled via Zurich, Doha, and Dubai.

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Media will appreciate that the high demand for business class seats in and out of South Africa, allied to the reduced number of flights into the country and the late confirmation of the required seats (Sunday evening) made it well-known to all parties that securing business class seats on a single flight would be impossible.

Pre-booking seats was discounted as an option in view of the potential risk of loss of 100 percent of the flight cost for a group booking, should it not be required as it was unknown until 48 hours before departure whether the Bulls would qualify, or be playing home or away (in the event of qualification).

SA Rugby believes that the flights sourced by SA Rugby for the Bulls (at a cost to SA Rugby of ZAR4 108 449.00) represent the very best outcome it was possible to achieve in the circumstances.

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