Franco Mostert goes close to the line in their Super Rugby match against the Waratahs. Photo: David Neilson/
Lions coach Swys de Bruin has heaped praise on his team doctor Rob Collins, who decided on the plan to fly out to Sydney as late as possible last week ahead of Friday’s Super Rugby match against the Waratahs.

The Lions only left Johannesburg late on Tuesday night and arrived in Sydney  after crossing several time zones  late on Wednesday night (local time) in an effort to “beat” jet-lag.

Collins said before the team’s departure that there was scientific evidence that were a person to remain in the time zone at their point of departure they would not suffer any jet-lag until later, in the new time zone.

This is what the Lions did, remaining in South African time up until Friday. They slept at times that they were accustomed to, ate their meals and trained in the time zones relevant to South Africa, rather than in Australia  with Sydney eight hours ahead.

The decision worked a treat with the Lions hammering the Waratahs on Friday 29-0 - a first whitewash for the Lions in the competition, and their first win in Sydney.

They scored four tries in a strong performance; their second half especially impressive.

“The guys played well,” enthused De Bruin after the match.

“Credit though must go to the team doctor; it was his decision to fly in late, to manage the time zones,” he said.

“We’ll go over to Australian time on Saturday. It was a great plan that worked for us.”

The customary jet-lag would have hit the Lions on Saturday  24 hours after their outing against the Tahs  and according to Collins, they’ll have settled into Australian time by Monday, when they start preparations for the Reds match in Brisbane.

The majority of the Lions players spent Saturday celebrating their win against the Tahs by playing golf.

After a nervy start on Friday, when the Tahs heaped plenty of pressure on the Lions and set up camp in their half of the field, the visitors struck the first blow when Madosh Tambwe scored his fifth try in two matches.

In the second half De Bruin’s men took charge and dominated all areas of the contest and scored three further tries by Kwagga Smith, Harold Vorster and Marnus Schoeman.

“We knew they’d come out blazing, and there was a pressure point there at one stage, with the game on a knife edge. But we hung in, and that helped a lot,” said De Bruin, who added his team had plenty of work to do before taking on the Reds.

“The big thing is to not get carried away (with this win). We spilled a lot of balls so that’s a work-on,” said the Lions boss.

“The Reds are a good side, results have not been in their favour, and we won’t underestimate them. We’ll have to be sharp.”

The good news is there are no injury worries in the camp.

Also, the Lions will know tomorrow whether Warren Whiteley will join them later next week.

The regular skipper will undergo a third fitness test then to determine whether he is able to run comfortably following a knee injury that kept him sidelined for five weeks.

“The MRI scans showed he’s fine, that it’s just a niggle (in the knee). It’s looking positive but we won’t rush him.

“He’s a Springbok and still has a chance to lead the national side (in June against England) and that’s a priority for him.”

Sunday Independent

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