SA Rugby claps back at Jake White amid flight fiasco

SA Rugby claps back at Jake White amid flight fiasco

SA Rugby has clarified how the Bulls are travelling to London for their Champions Cup quarterfinal against Northampton Saints on Saturday.

The London outfit defeated Munster on Sunday afternoon, meaning the Bulls would have to travel north for their knockout fixture. Even before kickoff, Bulls boss Jake White caused a stir in the media when he said he'll "be wearing red" (in support of Munster) on Sunday because SA Rugby was still to organise convenient flights for the Bulls' potential travel. 

White claimed that the touring party would be spread out over eight different flights, disrupting preparation. Taking umbrage, SA Rugby released a statement on Tuesday evening clarifying the situation.

"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 advisory said.

"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 (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.

"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 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 R4 108 449) represent the very best outcome it was possible to achieve in the circumstances."

READ MORE: Bulls boss Jake White slams SA Rugby over Champions Cup travel arrangements