Jake’s cap crusade

Bok coach Jake White has once again emphasised the importance of taking an experienced team to the World Cup next year.

England’s 2003 World Cup winning side – dubbed ‘Dad’s Army’ by the Australian media – seems to have inspired White.

“Experience plays a huge part in winning World Cups,” he said on Boots & All. “It’s no coincidence that the two most experienced teams, England and Australia, reached the final.”

White said the Bok team that went to France in 2007 would be based around those players who had done so well over the last two years.

He also dismissed suggestions that the Bok side to play the World XV wasn’t a good one.

“In 2004, I selected a Bok side with 179 caps to play Ireland. This year I selected a side with over 400 to play the World XV and people say it’s mediocre. That shows how much we’ve grown.”

While the World XV match is being regarded as a meaningless warm-up, White said it formed an important part of the season.

“We made nine changes for the Mandela Cup game at Ellis Park last year and some of those players are still in the first XV,” he said. “The opportunity is there for these players [selected for the World XV match] to do the same.”

The Bok coach also explained his decision not to give Wikus van Heerden the captaincy for Saturday’s match.

“It would have been unfair on him,” said White. “He’s playing openside and wants to do well, and I didn’t want him to have the burden of captaincy. I can see he’s enjoying himself more without that additional pressure.”