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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Biggest game in Springbok history?

Saturday's Tri-Nations Test in Wellington is unique in South African rugby history. It is the first time that the Springboks have had to defend their ranking as the World number 1. A massive game for us and with everything to play for.

The All Blacks will be without a wealth of experience with Byron Kelleher, Richie McCaw, Jerry Collins, Chris Jack, Joe Rokocoko, Aaren Mauger, Luke McAlister, and Carl Hayman all unavailable to Graham Henry. A couple are out through injury while the rest are overseas due to playing commitments.

There is no doubt that this is one of the most inexperienced All Black teams that South Africa has ever faced. In addition we must not lose sight of the fact that the Test is being played on the South Island and coach Graham Henry is from the North Island, which means the fans will have zero tolerance for any mistakes let alone failure.

The pressure increases because this All Black team desperately wants to get their disappointing World Cup behind them and re-establish their authority in the world game. It is also the first time that I can remember an All Black coach having to succeed to retain his position.

In essence the All Blacks are under enormous pressure through lack of experience, playing on the South Island and having a coach under intense scrutiny.

If the Springboks are able to keep that pressure on them for 80 minutes then there is every chance we can record our first win in New Zealand since 1998.

I would also like to thank all of you for reading and leaving comments on my blog. I will make a plan to start answering as many as I can soon.

Keep playing and watching your rugby.

Go Bokke!

Jake White talking to Mike Trapido of the Mail & Guardian


  1. Jake you are a legend. Had such confidence in the Boks winning the WC, even if we came up against the All Blacks I put NZ$2,000 on them to win at 8.50. Only bet over $20 I've ever done :P

    I've got this belief that if we had not lost Schalk Burger in 2006 the week before the French test, then we would have beaten them. As soon as I saw he was out, I think our chances halved. Best player in the world. Greatest Bok of all time if he continues like this. Especially with the rucks such an important part of the game. This is where Luke really falls short. I seen him standing behind Ricky and Bolla this past month when playing for the Boks and it irritates me when journalists write that he's actually done well. Sure if an openside was asked not to take any contact and make a very little amount of tackles.

    What you think should be done about the current situation with Francois Steyn and Ruan Pienaar finding positions?

    I personally believe Ruan is an ever better rugby player then he is a scrumhalf, and would make a superb flyhalf because of his vision. He's very elusive with the ball and fairly accurate boot. Just has the brains you know... I'd love to see the Sharks play him there and play Francois Steyn at fullback. I see Frans wants to play flyhalf, but with those HUGE drop goals from halfway, he's a much bigger threat at fullback.

    What you think?

  2. So now that you have finishied your stint in Fiji and Samoa - what are you up to next Jake?

  3. Jake did you ever read the comments posted on the messageboard of during the time that you and the Springboks were competing for the Rugby World Cup? The fans there tried to present you with a few tips regarding the strategy and tactics that could be used against various teams and the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition. I wish that SA rugby could create a board for fans to send their tips to the coaches. Imagine you could help set up such a tips for Jake or tips for Pieter forum, almost like the tipsfortrevor Manuel website, where people can send in ideas for the Rugby management to discuss.
    Wouldn't that be nice? Getting more ideas from fans on what to watch out for and what combinations to try and then seeing the discussions in the forum based upon those tips?

  4. What I mean is that all your knowledge of the game, your perspective, your ideas will be lost in say 20 year's time. The Internet connects people easily and if all the great names like Naas Botha, Danie Gerber ... all those rugby legends, if their perspective, their technical analysis of the game, if that can be preserved for future generations on the Internet, then it won't be lost. So the idea should be to create an online forum that connects all these old rugby players and fans and that allows discussion of all the technical aspects of the game.
    You coached and created a very good young team but in the future the tables may be turned and your brilliant leadership and ideas and understanding of the game will be lost forever and the team will be struggling again.

  5. All I'm suggesting, is that after each game, people give their commentary on the game. Referee Johnathan Kaplan gives his ideas and comments after each rugby game ( ) and any young aspiring referee at school level may gain immensely from his understanding and perspective of situations and rules. I suspect that Jake White will also give his ideas and analysis after each game in his blog. All I'm suggesting is that after each game, I'd love to read the ideas and perspectives of old rugby legends on how they viewed the game. I'm not asking something that is beyond the grasp or reach of modern technology. Only one area on the Internet, one web site where you can read the opinions and comments of 20 rugby legends on a specific game.

  6. Jake.. What's your thoughts on the Aussie Game..

    Selection? (No Continuity, Should Joe have played?)

    Aussie at the Breakdown? Illegal or Not?

  7. Guys thank you for your comments.

    In terms of Francois Steyn - he is an outstanding prospect. 22 caps at age 20 with a World Cup winners medal.

    He is also very versatile having played at every position except scrumhalf.

    Ruan Pienaar is a fantastic player. My only reservation is that with the amount of brilliant scrumhalves at our disposal it might be better for him to play at flyhalf.

    In terms of referees the Springboks do work hand in hand with our referees and consult them on a regular basis.

    In terms of tips and messageboards I did read some of the fans comments. I hope that in days to come coaches and fans will congregate on this site as well.

    I have some exciting ideas on using this site as a vehicle for coaches more of which will become apparent soon.

    Please also check up on the blog for my replies.