Rugby Championship News

White: ‘Bring on the Tri-Nations’




Super rugby AU : Standings | Fixtures | Super Rugby Aotearoa: Standings | Fixtures |


The Springboks will enter the first round of the Tri-Nations series, against Australia at Newlands next week, on a high, despite a stuttering performance in their final “warm-up” match against Samoa in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Bok coach Jake White, speaking after a somewhat disappointing 35-8 win by his second-string selection against a young Samoan outfit at Ellis Park, said injuries had resulted in his team losing its structure and rhythm.

“It was nice to win and make it three in a row,” he said of the five tries to one victory over a “tough” Samoan team.

“However, we lost a bit of rhythm after half-time,” White added.

Having gone into the game on the back of 13 changes to the starting XV, the Boks took a 23-3 lead at half-time and looked set for a comfortable win.

However, South Africa lost Luke Watson, Ricky Januarie, Wayne Julies and Ashwin Willemse after the break.

“When you’ve made 13 changes and you have to make [another] four [just] after half-time, you are going to lose a bit of that structure,” White said.

But White said the biggest positive was that he had an opportunity to rest some key players ahead of next week’s Tri-Nations opener.

“We have a win-win situation. We haven’t played most of our [first choice] guys this weekend – we rested some of our senior players and we’ve got another win at home.

“So that’s all positive looking forward to the Tri-Nations campaign.”

White said all three teams – South Africa, New Zealand and Australia – will go into the Tri-Nationjs on a level playing field.

“Whatever happened in the [tests in the] last three weeks is irrelevant. It is all about the Tri-Nations campaign.

“Australia have won three games and New Zealand have won two test matches.

“It is now a case making sure we prepare properly … now it’s the tough competition that starts.”

The Bok coach felt his team’s record at home will give them the edge over the Wallabies.

South Africa have won their last seven tests on home soil against the Wallabies, with Australia’s last win coming back in 2000 – when they won 19-18 in Durban, thanks to an injury-time Stirling Mortlock penalty.

“Our record at home is also quite good, we’ve done really well against Australia at home.

‘We’ve got an opportunity to play them at Newlands next week.

“We’ll bring our [top] guys back next week, but well done to these guys [at Ellis Park on Saturday] that got us another win, because it helps for the positive energy going into next Saturday.”

Bok captain John Smit also looked at the positives from the win over Samoa, describing it as a “fantastic afternoon”.

“Considering there were 13 changes, it gave a lot of guys who haven’t had test rugby for some time a chance to play,” Smit said.

“Yeah, it was a little bit scratchy in parts and certainly not the best second half we’ve had.

“We wanted to stick to our plan as much as possible, but there were a lot of stoppages. I think there was a total of 20 minutes of rugby the whole of the game . It was very stop-start, so we didn’t have an early opportunity to get into our rhythm.”

But Smit felt that some guys who have not been regulars in the Bok squad showed they are keen to get involved in the World Cup campaign.

“Look at a guy like [Bulls fly-half] Derick Hougaard, who last played in the World Cup [2003] and is Man of the Match. It was an opportunity for guys like that to put their hands up and they did.”
365 Digital

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.