Wynne Gray on sport

Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Wynne Gray: Early Edinburgh arrival makes sense

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Kieran Read and Richie McCaw of the All Blacks arrive for a gym session at the University of Edinburgh Centre for Sport and Exercise. Photo / Getty Images
Kieran Read and Richie McCaw of the All Blacks arrive for a gym session at the University of Edinburgh Centre for Sport and Exercise. Photo / Getty Images

Like many in New Zealand I'm sure, I wondered why the All Blacks needed to have such a long down time in Edinburgh before the first test on their end of year tour.

Having 10 days in the Scottish capital before they laced on their boots on for combat at Murrayfield, seemed, even by modern standards of preparation to be a shade excessive.

After all, they had been together for large chunks of this season and only Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Dane Coles were new tourists.

Even they had been with the squad at various stages this year for training and indoctrination into the All Black methods.

However if they felt anything like my colleague Gregor Paul and I when our cabbie put us down gently in downtown Edinburgh a few hours ago after travelling halfway around the globe, then they will need some time to acclimatize.

There are all sorts of theories about how many days it takes your body to restore its natural rhythm after long haul travel. Each day is supposed to be worth several hours in the adjustment.

After alighting near the centre of Edinburgh and praying our hotel rooms were ready, we stopped the clock on a journey at a shade over 37 hours.

From the time we left our homes in Auckland to travel via Singapore and London with various stopovers to Edinburgh, we had almost clipped a couple of days off our schedule.

The journey was fine but sleep was limited in these days when airline companies are determined business means they need to fill their planes.

There was none of the luxury of fold down beds or special menus for these two scribblers and who's to know whether that treatment would have made any difference.

The All Blacks though are well versed in the do's and don'ts of travel and how best to look after themselves in the long haul flights they undergo regularly in the Super 15 series and then international combat.

The medical staff, led by Dr Deb Robinson, know what works for most of them.

They will have planned this final push of the year to end up with an early evening arrival in Edinburgh to get everyone into the local timeframe as swiftly as possible.

Usually they try and keep players awake for one of the long haul sections and then get them to rest and sleep for another.

Now after they have had a few days in Edinburgh their bodies will start to feel better acquainted with their new surroundings while a few of us stragglers might be catching up with the medic.

- NZ Herald

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