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White reveals his England gameplan


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Springbok coach Jake White, in having picked one of the biggest sets of forwards of his three-year tenure, plans to squeeze the life out of the “fleet-footed” English side when the two meet in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

White admitted that he was “quite surprised” by the make-up of the England team for the Bloemfontein test, the first of two between the two countries ahead of their pool encounter at the World Cup in France in September.

After the encounter on Saturday, May 26, South Africa and England will meet in the return match in Pretoria a week later.

But this week White will be out to obtain total forward dominance and demolish an English team that he expects to play a very expansive game.

“I know there’s a lot of talk about Brian Ashton, who is well known for wanting to play more expansive rugby,” White said.

“He [Ashton] was at Bath and I know at Bath they used the ball a lot and moved it from side to side.

“If you look at that team – with Chris Jones [Sale Sharks utility forward) that plays flank and lock, a very similar player to Gerrie Britz [Stormers and Bok utility forward].

“Look at the two prop forwards, [Nick] Wood and [Stuart] Turner, they are obviously athletic. Behind them you’ve got Dean Schofield [Sale Sharks lock] and he also likes to carry the ball.

“I would be surprised, if you look at their outside backs and combine it with their back row and their locks, if they don’t try to play a little more expansively than they have in the past.”

That is why White has opted for a very bulky set of forwards – consisting of the very powerful and impressive Sharks front row, the Bulls’ locks (regarded as the best second row combination in the world) and a tall and beefy loose forward combination of Schalk Burger, Juan Smith and Danie Rossouw.

White will certainly not move too far away from a structured game plan and which set pieces and mauling will play a huge part.

The Bulls and Sharks were the two best mauling packs in the Super 14 competition and against the under-strength England side the tactics would be to pound them into submission up front first.

There is no doubt that fans expecting a free-flowing, expansive approach from the Boks will be disappointed.

With the World Cup less than four months away these mid-year tests are important trial runs for teams.

That is why White’s Boks will play a more structured game through their forwards and try to get the basics right first.


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