Jake White coach Bulls. Photo: Gerhard Duraan BackpagePix.jpeg

Bulls boss Jake White. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BBP.

SA Rugby clap back at Jake White over Bulls’ R4-million travel chaos

WAR OF WORDS CONTINUE: In response to Jake White criticism, SA Rugby says they did all they could to get the best available flights for the 38-man Bulls squad.

Jake White coach Bulls. Photo: Gerhard Duraan BackpagePix.jpeg

Bulls boss Jake White. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BBP.

SA Rugby has released a statement to explaining the details and flight costs in getting the Bulls to London for their Champions Cup quarter-final, after Jake White publicly launched a verbal attack on the national union.

White, in his capacity as Bulls director of rugby, went on a tirade against SA Rugby for organising a the nightmarish travel schedule to get his team to Europe, saying the governing body’s poor logistical planning undermines South African teams’ chances to be competitive in EPCR competitions.

This came after confirmation that the Bulls’ travel itinerary would be a gruelling journey consisting of several connecting flights and layover destinations, which would hamper their preparation for their game against the Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday night.


White’s verbal barrage received widespread media coverage, which obviously didn’t sit well with SA Rugby, who has now responded to the criticism.

SA Rugby said that given that the quarter-finals were only confirmed late on Sunday, the governing body only had a short period of time to get tickets for the 38-man squad travelling to England.

“SA Rugby provided 38 flights for the Vodacom Bulls’ Champions Cup quarter-final squad – 33 in business class and five in economy class. 

“The playing squad will arrive in London before 8am 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,” the SA Rugby statement read.

“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% 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.”

Jake White and SA Rugby are fighting.
Blue Bulls boss Jake White and SA Rugby are not friends. Photo: Billy Stickland/INPHO/Shutterstock/BackpagePix