Tri-Nations

Jake: Boks blew golden chance

2011-07-26 11:57
Jake White (Getty Images)
Canberra - Former Springbok coach Jake White believes the Boks squandered an opportunity to gain a mental edge over Tri-Nations rivals Australia.

Speaking to The Australian website, White criticised the decision to rest top Boks and said that the things that worked in 2007 would not necessarily work now as circumstances were different.

"I just think that if it's done based on the fact that it worked in 2007, I'm critical of the fact that it seems to be a sort of copy act," White said. "I think you look at things on the merits of where the team is now. There was almost an opportunity for the Springboks, had they brought their best team, to get a win against the second-best team in the world.”

"There is no doubt that Australia is now set-up. They got five points from this game. They will have a week off while South Africa play New Zealand and then they get an opportunity to continue their momentum.”

"I'm not critical at all about (coach) Peter (de Villiers). I'm just critical about the fact that maybe there was a gap that was missed for South Africa to maybe stake a claim going forward in the campaign.”

"You want to go into the World Cup with some sort of momentum, and you want to go into the World Cup knowing you can beat anybody. If you are on the receiving end of losses, it becomes more and more difficult.”

"There's no doubt in my mind winning teams create winning teams and losing teams create losing teams.”

"That's one thing the Springboks have to keep in the backs of their minds. They've got to pick up a couple of wins before they get to the World Cup."

Speaking on his website, RugbyXV, White said he didn’t want to 'sound negative' but that it would be 'remiss' of him as a former Bok coach 'not to point out certain things in their game'.

White questioned the Boks' defensive system and the treatment of Springbok debutants, as he highlighted the flaws in the team's loss to the Wallabies.

White expressed concern about the Springboks' defensive woes.

“The ease with which the Wallabies scored five tries is a worry. The defensive system the Boks have introduced now a few months before the World Cup is completely different to the one used in the past.”

“It's not easy to acclimatise to a new system in a couple of weeks and it was a difficult situation for those players to be put in.”

“Last year the Aussies scored four tries or more against us, and they did it again on Saturday. That's a big worry. We only scored two tries when the result was beyond doubt – one from a pick and go and the other a drive from a lineout. We didn't create anything or build momentum from 50m out or anything like that.”

White also targeted the breakdown as a problem area.

“We also offered the Aussies many turnovers, which is obviously dangerous. We lost too many balls in contact, which was evidence of them not playing in four weeks. It was also clear that not many Boks knew where the ball was going in attack. That also comes from not playing together much as forwards and backs and as a unit.”

White was also saddened by the treatment of the three debutantes, Dean Greyling, Werner Kruger and Ashley Johnson.

“To take them all off (Greyling, Werner Kruger and Ashley Johnson) so early in a game that wasn't going well anyway, was disappointing. The correct message would've been to keep them on - that's the only way they would've learnt fully. As a coach I felt sorry for them, even Charl McLeod who didn't even get on.”

“Doc Craven said if you're good enough for one, you're good enough for two. If they were good enough to be taken on tour, they were good enough to play 80 minutes.”

Jake White wrote off the Boks' chances of beating the All Blacks in New Zealand but targeted the third Test as crucial for the Springboks to build momentum moving towards the Rugby World Cup.

Read more on:    tn3  |  jake white  |  springboks  |  wallabies
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