Top Boks out?

Springbok coach Jake White is looking to keep some of his key players in cotton wool this season.

The Volksblad reported that Springbok coach Jake White and SA Rugby will hold their most important meeting yet before the 2007 World Cup in France on Thursday.

White is going to ask SA Rugby to relax their stranglehold on him and his top players like Victor Matfield, Schalk Burger, Bryan Habana and Jean de Villiers so that they can be rested this year without the threat of him being fired if the Boks do not perform without these stalwarts.

“This will be an important meeting. It will depend on the outcome of this meeting whether I can rotate certain players in Tests this year,” White told Volksblad’s Hendrik Cronje.

If SA Rugby turns down his request, White will be forced to consider Matfield for all 12 Tests in 2006 as well as the match against the World Team at Ellis Park on June 3.

White has a performance clause in his contract and he could be dismissed if he did not select his best team to play in the Tests without the permission of SA Rugby.

The coach does not only have the 2007 RWC tournament at the back of his mind. Some of his stalwarts could be injured prior to the start of the Tri-Nations series as a result of the hectic programme this year and the Boks will then face major problems.

The Boks will not be the first team to give some of the top players a breather. The All Blacks hope to rest about 30 top players.