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
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