Jake: Boks can beat Lions

2009-04-09 12:45
Jake White (File)

Johannesburg - South Africa have the players to overcome any challenge the British and Irish Lions throw at them during their three-Test tour, former World Cup-winning Springbok coach Jake White said.

"I'm not meaning to sound arrogant and this is not all about me saying the Lions have got no chance, but whatever they throw at the Springboks, I believe they can pick the players to counter that and there is no reason the Springboks can't win the series," White said.

"If the Lions go for a massive pack and very physical forwards, there's no reason South Africa can't pick bigger and more physical guys.

"We have players like Bakkies Botha, Victor Matfield, Gurthro Steenkamp and Danie Rossouw to stop them.

"If they go for speed and try to run us off our feet on the highveld, do they have anyone better than Pierre Spies, Ryan Kankowski or Schalk Burger?" added White, who coached South Africa from 2004-2007 and guided them to World Cup victory in 2007 in France.

South Africa lost the last series against the Lions in 1997 2-1. A Jeremy Guscott drop goal at the death gave the Lions an 18-15 victory in the second test at Durban for a decisive 2-0 series lead.

White said there were two pitfalls South Africa needed to avoid if they were to avenge the defeat.

"In 1997, the Springboks outscored the Lions nine tries to three but lost the series because they didn't have a goalkicker.

"In 1974 (won 3-0 by the Lions), the selectors tried to swap the players around -- we used 33 in the four tests. So this time there's got to be consistency in selection," White said.

White introduced most of the players used by South Africa coach Peter De Villiers last year to international rugby.

"Obviously I'm biased about those players I rated highly, but South Africa does have a very special group of players at the moment," he said.

"Peter de Villiers has some options in terms of selection. The first test in Durban (June 20) will be a most important clash because it will set the benchmark for the series.

"He could choose a lot of players from a top-class Sharks side because they'd have home ground advantage, but the negative is that they might have come straight off a gruelling Super 14 final.

"If winning means choosing two or three overseas-based players, then you do that. You'd be crazy if you don't and they'd have more time to prepare, plus they would understand the opposition they're coming up against," added White, who was in Johannesburg, to launch his academy for schoolboy rugby coaches.

The second Test will be played in Pretoria on June 27 and the third in Johannesburg on July 4.



Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

/World Cup
Love 2 Meet

Take a photographical trip down memory lane and remind yourself of how the Springboks fared in their five previous Rugby World Cup campaigns. In addition, pick your all-time Springbok Rugby World Cup Dream Team and you could win R3 000!

Latest blogs

Which player can consider himself unluckiest at not making the 31-man Springbok Rugby World Cup squad?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.