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Monday, August 25, 2008

Don't panic and don't force it

Like every other Springbok rugby fan I was bitterly disappointed
with our 15-27 loss to Australia in Durban on Saturday.
Back-to-back defeats on home soil, particularly against these
opponents, was always going to be hard to stomach.

With the match at King's Park coming straight after the defeat
against the All Blacks at Newlands the previous weekend, many
of us, myself included, expected to see our guys bounce straight
back. Unfortunately this was not to be.

As I have always maintained, the Australians have a great
defence which serves them well in tough matches such as these.
Of course that does not in any way excuse the fact that we went
three halves, without scoring a single point, before Butch James
broke the drought.

That statistic alone has to tell us that things are not going
according to plan and we need to adapt ourselves accordingly.
While much has been made about the style of play the new
coaching staff are using I don't believe that this is the
be-all-and-end-all of the equation. They are acutely aware of
the fact that they have to employ a style which is best suited
to our players.

However at times like these, we need to play to our strengths
which means using our forwards to dominate and create sufficient
good field position and possession to improve our chances of

Rugby is a simple game and ever since cavemen first started
tossing eggs around two things have remained constant - big
dominant forwards and field position. We need to be playing
in our opponents half far more often than we are doing at
the moment.

This is a very special group of players with far too much
talent not to succeed. We must however find a way to start
bringing out the best in them sooner rather than later.
In turn the players themselves must stick together as a
group and answer the tough questions that are being asked
of them right now.

Most importantly people must stop panicking and making
matters worse. This is a time for calm heads in terms
of preparation, team-selection and game plan. Fortunately
we have the opportunity to turn things around on Saturday.

If our guys give us 80 minutes of their best the chances
are we'll be back on the winning trail.

That will be a good start.

Jake White speaking to Mike Trapido of the Mail & Guardian


  1. Agreed the strength we pose at Ellis Park should restor some pride this weekend but not without a gameplan to come back to when the chips are down...

    Despite Jakes diplomacy above it is a definate game plan that has been quite frankly non-existent thus far under PdVs tenure...let alone a game plan taylored to suit our players talents and strengths...

  2. Can we panic if we lose next week?

    We definitely seem rudderless at the moment. Losing is always disapointing but when our guys seem to play below the standard expected thats when the fans go beserk.
    I've supported the boks throughout turbulent times so its just annoying to tune into a game and see world cup winning players make basic handling errors and lose the ball in the ruck. (I don't support booing the team though)

    I think the boks main strengh is power and intensity but I get the impression that if we lose that intensity we are unable to consolidate and play a thinking game.

    South Africans are proud of their sporting culture and so lack of consistency in our team is what frustrates the fans.

  3. True but PDV doesn't look interested in using our strengths right now. He needs to feel the real pressure of the S.A public first before he's going to learn.

    Traditions he wants to install take time. It took us 100 years. You can't do it in the first tri-nations you play. Good luck with that!

    We need to GRIND them up front and hold onto the ball.

    We don't have to tap and run for every short arm we get. Scrum!! Also our tactical kicking has been a disgrace if you ask me. We need line outs and loads of them!!

    This weekend will be a true test for the coach and the team. This is S.A in a panic and Jake you are right but we don’t like what we are seeing after we got so used to feeling secure and confident about our team.

    I really hope the players stick together and pull this one through.

  4. I don't think there is Panic, there is frustration at the fact that no one 'who matters' seems to see the short comings, while the rest of us bang our heads. I read Eddie Jones say that if SA don't change their plans they will keep getting worse, and I agree. Lets see what happens on the weekend, but already bad records are falling.

    I was at the 49-0 game in Bris, but was never nearly as worried as I am now about the future. I was also at the world cup (QF, SF and Final) and whilst it wasn't pretty rugby, it was winning rugby and left behind structures that should have been built on this year by a winning coach who has experience... Myer.

  5. Jake you would know all too well... If we go down this weekend, PDV has managed to do in 3 weeks what it took you 4 years to do, lose 3 games at home! I also feel that this is the weakest NZ team in the last few years and also Australia are in a building phase at the moment.

  6. #ColinKlinkert: "... and whilst it wasn't pretty rugby, it was winning.. "

    But how pretty was that pool game against England?? To me that was a complete game and have not seen a game like that in a long time.

    Set pieces was perfect, a clear gameplan was played and executed to perfection.

    IT was very PRETTY!!!

  7. Eddie's views are set out in Beeld,,3-63-2139_2382484,00.html

    As he says it's important that we learn from these problems.

  8. Hi Jake

    I saw the report on News24 that you are indeed prepared to be an advisor to the coaching team. I personaly think this is almost too good to be true. It confirms your humility and absolute dedication to a game that unites a nation.

    Thank you

  9. Pity the English-speaking Durbanites among us, as the article is Afrikaans. ;-) Nonetheless... It is great news Jake. Thank you for not turning your back on SA Rugby and continuing to help out wherever you can!

    Also, quick one... Thanks for replying to comments. That is great, because it shows you're interested. It is good to have your interaction. Unlike other rugby blogs...

  10. Guys thank you for the kind words.

    My heart will always be with the Springboks no matter what the situation.

    You must also understand that it would be wrong for me to throw in my ten pence without thinking each thing through carefully. It is easy for people to misconstrue the things I say.

    That could cause problems and that is the last thing I would ever do to the Springboks or South African rugby.

  11. Jake, what level of involvemt do you see youself having in things like team selection and approach in strategy should the position materialise and you accept. I don't see Piet Snor taking any advise, seems quite stubborn. Also do you think you would have needed to tweak your approach to rugga under the ELV's ?

  12. Nice one Jake, the fact that you are willing to help and that you could benefit S.A Rugby is great.

    Would love to see it happen.

    As for the weekend, I really hope we can pull it off. If only the countries moral!!!

  13. Jake Question for you...

    Do you read other Blogs like:

    So I see they are talking about your spot (Director of rugby) on Friday. Are you going to apply?

  14. Hi Jake

    What advise do u have for a young South-African coach, in a foreign developing rugby nation?
    I do see myself as a very talented coach, however I am short of knowledge, and I am so keen on further development... I want to learn what is going on, in the top of the rugby coaching tree...
    Can u give some advice?