Jet lag in the mixfor Sharks

2010-03-18 00:00

THE Sharks are hoping that travel fatigue will prove a powerful ally when they attempt to break their Super 14 duck against the Highlanders in Dunedin on Saturday.

The Sharks have lost five games on the trot, but their outing against the Highlanders certainly provides them with an excellent opportunity to pick up both their first win and the morale of their squad members and suppor­ters back home.

Teams travelling back to the Antipodes from South Africa have struggled to recover from the jet lag, and in recent weeks we have seen disrupted, listless displays from strong Chiefs, Waratahs, and Brumbies teams a week after returning from South Africa.

The struggling Highlanders, with one win in five games and after heavy losses to the Stortmers and the Bulls, have faced a particularly long trek home. It started on Sunday night when they left Johannesburg and it ended on Tuesday morning when they flew into Dunedin International Airport.

Their travels, spread over three days, included a 14-hour flight to Sydney from Johannesburg and then a four-hour wait before flying to Auckland at midnight. After a couple of hours’ sleep — and at 5 am — they left their hotel for their flight from Auckland to Dunedin and arrived at 9 am on Tuesday.

The Highlanders had a satisfactory tour, beating the Cheetahs 31-24 at Bloemfontein, but then went down 33-0 to the Stormers in Cape Town and 50-35 to the log-leading Bulls at Loftus on Saturday.

But they did pick up five log points (for the Cheetahs win and the five tries scored against the Bulls) and they were happy with that return.

Jamie Mackintosh, who led the team in the absence of injured scrumhalf Jimmy Cowan, says he is looking for “some pay-back” against the Sharks.

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