Cape Town - The Bulls' chances of causing a Super Rugby upset took a knock when they learnt that logistical hassles meant they could only fly out of Johannesburg on Monday and not a day earlier as planned.
According to the supersport.com website, the Bulls said after their victory over the Lions this past weekend they would be leaving on Sunday for Wellington in New Zealand where they face the Hurricanes in their quarter-final on Saturday, but SANZAAR’s travel office said they could only fly on Monday.
Given the massive travel task in getting to New Zealand for a once-off game, the change meant the team needed to change everything in its planning for the week, and had to finalise their on-field preparation before boarding the plane on Monday afternoon.
It will also mean they arrive in New Zealand at midnight on Tuesday, and will only have one day of training before the captain's practice and the match .
Traditionally the draw has always favoured the home side in the competition, but adding an extra day before the team can travel tilts the scales firmly in the New Zealand side's favour.
"We arrive there in the early hours of Wednesday. We will have a little run, and a captain's run on Thursday and then Saturday the game," Bulls coach Pote Human said.
"... You can't do anything more now, it is just mental. Get the guys fresh and get them relaxed, and you know, focus on the game."
Human has little choice but to carry on and can't lament the late arrival in New Zealand, but it certainly won't help the Bulls' chances. The coach remains confident though.
"That’s the game, we can't change anything about that, so we do make the best out of it and focus on ourselves," he sighed.
“We only arrived here last Saturday night and now we're going this afternoon. That is what it is and we will have to get the guys ready psychologically for this one because it is going to be a huge battle out there but we will be ready.
"If the forwards can peak like they did on Saturday and be physical, and then we have very good backs and with Jesse (Kriel) back it will be a boost to the side."
Human added that the team didn't need motivation.
"We had a lot of hard work yesterday and this morning to see what we can do. We can just play the way we want to play. They are a very good side and have the most wins in the competition so far so it is going to be difficult in Wellington, but luckily we have confidence after our two games in New Zealand against the Blues and Highlanders and also the great win we got on Saturday will help the guys definitely.
"From the start of the competition I said it will only be a great competition if we win the competition. We have a ticket now for the quarterfinals and we must use it. There is no motivations needed. If you're not motivated to play the Hurricanes in Wellington you don't belong here. “
Kick-off is at 09.35 SA time on Saturday.