Cape Town – Former Springbok coach Jake White says SA Rugby has taken the right steps ahead of the 2018 international season.
The Springboks, under the guidance of new coach Rassie Eramus, will begin their campaign with a Test against Wales in Washington DC on Saturday (23:00 SA time), followed the by a three-Test home series against England, starting in Johannesburg the following weekend.
After a torrid two years with Allister Coetzee at the helm of the Boks, White believes SA Rugby has now got its house in order regarding preparation.
Via a column for the All Out Rugby , White wrote that SA Rugby had “gone out of their way to give the new Bok coach everything he needs to get South Africa back to the top of world rugby”.
“For my very first Bok camp I was allowed to take 25 guys, which made it difficult when Hanyani Shimange stood on De Wet Barry’s foot, Ashwin Willemse did his knee in Kimberley and then Faan Rautenbach had to go for a knee op. Erasmus has been granted a 43-man squad and he’s been allowed to pick overseas-based players, even if they don’t have the minimum number of Test caps. It’s great news if you’re a Bok supporter because, if you listen to what’s coming out of SA Rugby, all the pieces have been put in place to be successful from day one.”
White added that former coach Coetzee did the right thing when he complained of not receiving enough support from his employers.
“You have to compliment SA Rugby for doing what was needed – maybe we should also credit Allister Coetzee and the letter he wrote for motivating these changes. The positive communications from the camp are a complete turnaround from Coetzee’s term when he raised issues related to not having enough time to prepare for the Ireland series and not having his preferred staff.”
White also noted that the “power of balance” ahead of the England series has “shifted 180 degrees” with the visitors not so confident as they were a year ago.
England are under pressure having lost their final three Six Nations Tests in 2018 to finish a lowly fifth on the standings.
They have also never beaten the Boks in a series in South Africa.