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SA Rugby statement: Bulls' R4.1m travel arrangements

By Liam Heagney
Bulls' Elrigh Louw in action last moth at Leinster (Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

South African rugby officials have clarified the situation regarding this week’s travel plans to get the Bulls to England for Saturday’s Investec Champions Cup quarter-final versus Northampton.


The Pretoria franchise defeated Lyon last Saturday in their round-of-16 tie at home at Loftus, but they didn’t know until the following day whether they would have to travel to the northern hemisphere for their next match or else host Irish side Munster this weekend.

In the end, Northampton won 24-14, giving the Bulls an away last-eight match that has resulted in Jake White criticising the travel logistics involved in the tournament.

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Jannes Kirsten on his injury since arriving back in South Africa

Jannes Kirsten on his injury speak to Liam Heagney about the injury that’s kept him out of action since arriving at the Bulls.

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Jannes Kirsten on his injury since arriving back in South Africa

Jannes Kirsten on his injury speak to Liam Heagney about the injury that’s kept him out of action since arriving at the Bulls.

The Bulls’ issues with getting to England in time to prepare for their match are reminiscent of what happened last year when the Stormers defeated Harlequins in Cape Town in the round of 16 and then had to get to Exeter the following weekend for a quarter-final.

An SA Rugby statement on the travel concerns raised this week by Bulls boss White read: “Media are advised that SA Rugby provided 38 flights for the Vodacom Bulls Investec Champions Cup quarter-final squad – 33 in business class and five in economy class.

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“The playing squad will arrive in London before 08h00 local time on Wednesday having travelled overnight in business class on two airlines: British Airways (24 players and management) and Lufthansa (four 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.


“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 per cent of the flight cost for a group booking, should it not be required as it was unknown until 48 hours before departure whether the Vodacom 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 Vodacom Bulls (at a cost to SA Rugby of R4 108 449.00) represent the very best outcome it was possible to achieve in the circumstances.”

  • The R4.1million forked out by SA Rugby equates to circa £175k sterling.



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Jon 1 days ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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