Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

White puts his and South Africa's reputation on the line at World Cup

White puts his and South Africa's reputation on the line at World Cup

For four years and 44 tests, South Africa coach Jake White has gambled his career and the reputation of Springbok rugby on his plan for the Rugby World Cup.
"I am happy to say our structures are coming together, according to plan," White said.
The plan revolves around experience in pivotal positions. And White will be particularly pleased to have his three most experienced players among the forwards.
Loosehead prop Os du Randt is a survivor of South Africa's 1995 first appearance and only title in the World Cup.
And while the 35-year-old frontrower is not as sprightly as he could be, he still makes some surprising tackles, and the composure he brings to set pieces will be invaluable in the cauldron of the playoff stages should South Africa advance that far.
Lock forward Victor Matfield has 60 caps, and his seemingly peerless work in the lineouts is one of the pillars on which South Africa bases its game _ and by which it disrupts the plans of his opposition.
His value to the team was confirmed when he became the 52nd Springbok captain in a home test against New Zealand earlier in the year.
But more than anything, White will be pleased that John Smit _ the man he identified as his captain four years ago _ has survived a typically fractious South African buildup to the World Cup.
The burly hooker has 67 caps, and South Africa's traditional dominance in scrums evaporated when he had to sit out some of the Tri-Nations matches and World Cup warmup games with a hamstring injury.
Among the backs, fullback Percy Montgomery has 87 caps and is South Africa's record points scorer with 768. His goal kicking has evolved into a metronomically reliable weapon for the Springboks.
Between Montgomery at the back and the big pack of forwards is a group of players with whom White has stuck until they have become a unit. It might not be as experienced as the elders in the team, but has developed as a confident attacking combination.
The center pairing of Jean de Villiers (32 caps) and Jaque Fourie (31) is big, fast and inventive, and, with the addition of former Wallaby coach Eddie Jones to South Africa's coaching staff, both players will have picked up some creative ideas which will test opposition defenses.
The two players who can turn a match for South Africa are both 24.
Schalk Burger is a flanker who plays every game at full speed, and _ bar New Zealand's Richie McCaw _ is a supreme competitor for the tackle ball. His destructive running unlocks defenses and gives his teammates the chance to continue attacks from good positions.
Bryan Habana has scored 22 tries in 28 tests. The winger is known as something of an intercept specialist, which is perhaps testimony to his ability to read play. But he is also very fast, and opponents the world over know better than to give him space to move.
South Africa has what should be a physical start to the World Cup, opening against Samoa in Paris on Sept. 9.
Looking at the way in which South Africa dismantled Scotland 27-3 with a six-minute, three-try burst in its final warmup match, it seems clear the Springboks will impose their pattern on the islanders with their big forwards to attempt to control the pace of the game.
Against England in St. Denis just five days later, Jake White's approach will be put to its first big test: A victory in that match may just be the ticket to a berth in the final.


Updated : 2021-05-06 13:59 GMT+08:00