Cape Town - Jake White feels the Springboks should have made more of an effort to have Duane Vermeulen available for the Rugby Championship.
Vermeulen, 32, was recalled to the Springbok fold for the recent series against England and proved an instrumental figure in their 2-1 victory.
But the burly No 8 recently signed a deal to play in Japan for the Kubota Spears which will see him miss the upcoming Rugby Championship.
According to White, Vermeulen's absence will be felt and he feels the Boks need to beat a powerhouse like New Zealand before next year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan.
The former Bok coach expressed his views via a column for the All Out Rugby website where he stressed the importance of gaining a psychological advantage over your rivals.
White said the Boks should be picking their best team, like Ireland did when they went to Australia and won the series 2-1 last month.
“Joe Schmidt (Ireland coach) wanted to teach his boys that they can stop the southern hemisphere teams and, in the last couple of years, Ireland have beaten New Zealand, South Africa and now they’ve won a series against the Wallabies. They have been psychologically hardened by those wins,” White wrote.
“We’re getting to the point in South Africa where we’re continually losing against some teams, and that’s when the aura goes and the players forget how to win.”
White said it was a “masterstroke” by Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus to bring back Vermeulen, but added: “You have to ask yourself how he would come to the conclusion that he doesn’t need Vermeulen for the next six Test matches. The guy that everyone spoke of as the European-based player who made the most significant impact for South Africa against England; that guy has been released for the Rugby Championship.
“The only logical way to explain it is that, unlike other national coaches, Rassie is not worried about keeping his job. There’s no doubt in my mind that if his job depended on results over the next two years, there’s no way Vermeulen would have been allowed to go to Japan.”
READ Jake White’s full column on the All Out Rugby website