Sunwolves face more than 100 hours in planes this season

Sunwolves coach Mark Hammett will clock up some serious air miles this year. Photo / Getty
Sunwolves coach Mark Hammett will clock up some serious air miles this year. Photo / Getty

Commuter time is certainly a key issue for Aucklanders but the Blues don't have it as bad as fellow Super Rugby franchise the Sunwolves who will spend an estimated 113 hours in planes during the upcoming season.

Two graphics posted on Twitter last week by @JapanRugbyClub showed just how tough the new Tokyo-based side will have it this season due to the fact they are a nine hour flight from the closest franchise.

According to @JapanRugbyClub, the Sunwolves will cover 80,277km during the season. We worked out that will amount to around 113 hours, or almost just shy of three working weeks, on planes either in the air in on the tarmac. That doesn't include all the hours spent at airports before even boarding or getting off the plane.

The Blues in comparison will spend just over 46 hours in the air this regular season with just one trip to South Africa.

The Auckland-based franchise also have the luxury of playing away in Hamilton - a nice two hour bus drive away.



The travel will certainly take its toll on the Super Rugby newcomers:

1) Home advantage?
Many teams have a second home away from home. The Blues, for instance, must go all the way to Albany to play the Jaguares. The Sunwolves second home is in Singapore, a seven hour flight from Tokyo.

2) Level playing field?
Over half their games are against South African teams - the Sunwolves make three 17 hour flights which is more air hours than the Blues endure throughout the entire regular season. The good news is one of those flights is after their final regular season game in Durban - time for a decent nap.

3) Carrying baggage
The Sunwolves get to prepare for the club's first-ever three game burst in South Africa with a stopover in Singapore. There won't be much time for shopping because they play the tough Bulls there.

4) Remote home base
It's a tough job, but we've found a professional sports team that has it just as tough. Somebody with a lot of time on their hands worked out the Seattle Mariners also travelled about 80,000 km during the 2014 season.

5) Home sweet home
The only respite is mid-season - their only consecutive games in Tokyo are against the Jaguares and Force with a bye in between.

6) Break, what break?
After the June break, they get a home game and then - you guessed it - it's off to South Africa again for their two final matches, the first of which is on the lung-busting highveld.

7) Travel slickness
Remember how travel was such an issue in the early days of Super Rugby? Back then, everyone was learning at the same time. The Sunwolves are many travel miles behind the eight-ball.

8) The good news...
The Sunwolves don't travel to Buenos Aires this year.

Sunwolves' estimated travel times and schedule

Week 1 - Sunwolves v Lions - Tokyo
Week 2 - Bye
Travel - Tokyo to Singapore - 7 hours
Week 3 - Sunwolves v Cheetahs - Singapore
Travel -Singapore to Tokyo - 7 hours (14 hours)
Week 4 - Sunwolves vRebels - Tokyo
Travel - Tokyo to Singapore - 7 hours (21 hours)
Week 5 - Sunwolves v Bulls, Singapore
Travel - Singapore to Port Elizabeth - 11 hours, 45 minutes (32 hours 45 mins)
Week 6 - Sunwolves v Kings, Port Elizabeth
Travel - Port Elizabeth to Cape Town - 1 hour (33 hours 45 minutes)
Week 7 - Sunwolves v Stormers, Cape Town
Travel Cape Town to Bloemfontein - 1 hour 40 (34 hours 30 minutes)
Week 8 - Sunwolves v Cheetahs, Bloemfontein
Travel - Bloemfontein to Tokyo - 17 hours, 45 minutes (52 hours 15 minutes)
Week 9 - Sunwolves v Jaguares, Tokyo
Week 10 - BYE
Week 11 - Sunwolves v Force, Tokyo
Travel - Tokyo to Singapore - 7 hours (59 hours, 15 minutes)
Week 12 - Sunwolves v Stormers, Singapore
Travel - Singapore to Brisbane - 8 hours 10 mins (66 hours, 25 minutes)
Week 13 Sunwolves v Reds, Brisbane
Travel - Brisbane to Canberra - 1 hour 35 (68 hours)
Week 14 - Sunwolves v Brumbies, Canberra
Travel - Canberra to Sydney 40 - Sydney to Tokyo 10 hours - 10 hours, 40 minutes (78 hours 40)
Round 15 - Sunwolves v Waratahs, Tokyo
Travel - Tokyo to Pretoria - 17 hours (95 hours, 40 minutes)
Round 16 - Sunwolves v Bulls, Pretoria
Travel - Pretoria to Durban - 1 hour 10 (96 hours 50 mins)
Round 17 - Sunwolves v Sharks, Durban
Travel - Durban to Tokyo - 17 hours, 15 mins

TOTAL TIME IN PLANE - 113 hours

- NZ Herald

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