Jake White is saying the right things in the Scottish press — and that’s a positive in the build-up to Saturday’s first test.
White has in the past been guilty of firing up the opposition with dismissive claims about their credibility as a team, most notably the Irish in the week the Boks played (and lost) to them in Dublin.
But White seems to have learned. Tell the visiting boys what they want to hear and let them reflect the good news.
White did just this in telling the Scotsman’s Tom Smith that the Scottish would pose a real threat to the Boks, despite never having won a test in South Africa.
“Their history against us suggests they’ll battle against us, but they’ve turned around nicely in the last year under Frank Hadden. Let me give credit where it’s due … a team that can beat England and France in the same year [in the Six Nations] is not to be taken lightly. Few teams can say they’ve managed that.
“The Scots are coming here a settled team with a good nucleus of players. They’ve picked some big backs, which seems to be the trend in world rugby, and will ask plenty of my guys. We must also remember that, while it’s their end-of-season tour, a lot of the guys will be wanting to impress Hadden with an eye on next year’s World Cup.
“There will be fringe players in their squad, much like we’ve got, who’ll be keen to stick their hands up, so this series should be very interesting.”
White, a keen follower of history, will have noted that in 1906 the Boks, playing for the first time with the Bok emblem on their jersey, took on Scotland in Edinburgh and lost 6-0.
A century later he certainly would not want the latest chapter of Springbok rugby history to reflect a first ever Scottish win in South Africa.