Cape Town - Former national team coach Jake White has questioned the Springboks' preparation ahead of their three-Test home series against France.
White, who coached the Springboks to the World Cup title in 2007 and recently completed a three-year coaching stint at French club Montpellier, shared his views via a column for the All Out Rugby website.
In the column, White says it’s a myth that the French are unpredictable.
“There’s no such thing as unpredictable with today’s analysis systems. You can identify and examine weaknesses in every team and player, so how can they be unpredictable? They’re only unpredictable if you haven’t done your homework on them,” White wrote.
White said he knows which players France will pick for the first Test and expects them to be more potent in the second encounter when they will call on players that participated in last Sunday’s Top 14 final between Clermont and Toulon.
“Why do we say we don’t know what to expect? The only reason is because we haven’t asked anybody,” White continued. “That’s what top sides do. Australia played France in France last year, and they used every resource they could to find out what they could about the French, including convening with several of the Australian coaches in France for a three-day workshop to get insight.
“I know that Canal+, France’s equivalent of SuperSport, have spent the past six weeks trying to find out which France-based SA players were going to be chosen for the Boks. The French clubs will also have reported which SA players have been requested, all of which helps the national coach, Guy Noves, get an understanding about the makeup of the Springbok team. And yet, in South Africa, we don’t do the same.”
According to White, South Africa could call on the services of several experts familiar with the French game.
“We’ve got Pieter de Villiers who played 68 Tests for France, Nick Mallett who coached Stade Francais for three seasons, and I’ve just come back from coaching Montpellier in the Top 14. Absolutely no-one has asked me any questions about the French and I’m pretty sure Pieter and Nick haven’t been contacted either.
“If that’s the case, then the Springboks probably won’t know all the French players’ names and they should expect France to be unpredictable. And if you’re only relying on Duane Vermeulen and Frans Steyn for your feedback, then you haven’t used all your resources.”
White’s next venture will be in Japan where he will coach Japanese Top League side Toyota Verblitz next season.
South Africa's first Test against France is scheduled for Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday (June 10), the second for Kings Park in Durban (June 17) and final one for Ellis Park in Johannesburg (June 24).
CLICK HERE to read Jake White's full column on All Out Rugby