How the high-flying All Blacks avoid jetlag

Last updated 05:00 05/11/2012
All Blacks

SCOT BASE: Kieran Reid and and Conrad Smith arriving at Edinburgh as the All Blacks prepare to begin their northern hemisphere tour.

Dan Carter’s bag
TRUSTING: Dan Carter’s bag sits unattended on the All Blacks’ flight to Europe.

Related Links

All Blacks touch down in Scotland Rotation back on to haunt All Blacks fans Steve Hansen's approach working for ABs Welsh to prove the toughest for All Blacks Richie McCaw keeps focus on Scotland test McCaw can't escape limelight in Scotland How the high-flying All Blacks avoid jetlag

Relevant offers

All Blacks

History shows All Blacks must seriously consider Jordie Barrett for first Lions test Mark Reason: 'Despair and anger to grip NZ' after Lions' series win Sonny Bill Williams looks to have inside running for All Blacks spot 'Richie would always look at me like 'nah, nah, nah' when asked to lead AB haka: Piri Weepu Former All Blacks have their say on who will win the British and Irish Lions series The Beauden Barrett show rumbles on as Hurricanes No 10 takes game to new level Is Warren Gatland the right man to lead the British and Irish Lions? New Zealand Maori set to feature All Blacks for match against British and Irish Lions All Black great Sean Fitzpatrick sees major challenge coming from dangerous Lions Wallabies coach Michael Cheika backing All Blacks over Lions, says series could send them to another level

Cradling three vials of magic potion, a hydration mask and a sleeping pill, the All Blacks' meticulous preparation for their end of year tour has been apparent from the moment they boarded their flight north.

Travel has become as much a part of a professional rugby team's routine as lacing up the boots and negating its effects is a major priority in Scotland this week where coach Steve Hansen will look to maximise the remaining seven days before their first match.

And so the red, blue and yellow coloured vials, handed out and dutifully consumed before, during and after the gruelling 28-hour journey to Edinburgh, have been introduced to the All Blacks' arsenal for the first time this season.

"The best way of describing it is we are using a hydration drink to mitigate known stresses of long haul travel," team doctor Deb Robinson said.

"They drink one when they take off, one mid-flight and one when they land, which has a little bit of caffeine to give them a bit of a kick when they arrive.

"They still need to drink plenty of water. The air in the plane is very dry and you do dehydrate and that's why they wear the masks.

"We've used those for quite a long time. They have a little coil that absorbs the moisture you breathe out and remoisturises the air as you breathe it back in again."

Robinson is coy on exactly what products the All Blacks are using, but a quick web search reveals Flyhidrate is an all natural Kiwi-made innovation.

The concept came about when nutritionists with close links to the airline industry approached scientists and researchers at the University of Otago.

It is claimed the mixture of real fruit extracts helps mitigate the effects of radiation, magnified at altitude, and increases blood flow.

The All Blacks are usually at the cutting edge when it comes to innovation and Robinson ensures that applies to the health of the squad.

Her philosophy in combating travel is borne of an immense library of knowledge and experience over seven seasons with the national team.

She says there are two key elements to consider in order to ensure the players' bodies and minds recover in the shortest possible time.

Travel "fatigue" is effectively jet lag, while travel "stress" is the effect on the body of being stuck in a seat breathing dry, recycled air for, effectively, two days.

To combat the former, Robinson judiciously allocates sleeping pills to those who want them and advises they sleep most during the second leg of the flight.

Flying business class helps large bodies like lock Brodie Retallick stretch out, but the players were advised to walk, stretch and shower when they stopped over in Hong Kong.

Robinson says all the All Blacks' measures are "optional," that every individual is different, and that no matter what is done, the human body and mind will still be affected by such long travel for several days.

Ad Feedback

Jet lag can affect hand-eye co-ordination and decision making for several days "because their body clock thinks it's the middle of the night".

The job of getting bodies ticking again and then peaking for Monday's test falls to fitness trainer Nic Gill whose job started with a "blow out" session, including light-hearted games of football and touch rugby followed by a pool session.

The carefully planned details of what Robinson and Gill do this week will be crucial to ensuring Hansen has the best chance of getting all 32 of his tour party on the field in the opening two tests against Scotland and Italy.

- The Dominion Post


Special offers
Opinion poll

Who was the best-performed All Blacks forward on the northern tour?

Dane Coles

Nathan Harris

Keven Mealamu

Wyatt Crockett

Charlie Faumuina

Ben Franks

Owen Franks

Joe Moody

Brodie Retallick

Luke Romano

Jeremy Thrush

Patrick Tuipulotu

Sam Whitelock

Sam Cane

Jerome Kaino

Richie McCaw

Liam Messam

Kieran Read

Vitor Vito

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content