The British and Irish Lions were so tired before their opening 2017 encounter in New Zealand that some of them fell asleep on the way to the game.
The claim appears in a Telegraph column supporting Kiwi Warren Gatland's retention as Lions coach.
The Lions had arrived in New Zealand just three days before they played a moderate Barbarians side in front of a 20,000 crowd in Whangarei. They scraped together a six-point win but went on to score an impressive series draw with the All Blacks.
The Telegraph's Mick Cleary wrote: "Gatland is aware that (the Lions) is a position for a coach with one hand tied behind his back...as was shown to distressing effect in New Zealand in 2017.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
"There is only so much sharp-end coaching you can do when several of your players are falling asleep on the way to the opening match as they struggle to shake off jet-lag from insane itineraries."
The Lions were in Whangarei for 48 hours, after heading north in a convoy of a sponsor's vehicles.
They certainly woke the local community. According to economic impact analysis, the match brought over $6m to Whangarei businesses.