Springbok coach Jake White has taken a leaf out German soccer coach JÃ¼rgen Klinsmannâ€™s book.
Klinsmann, says White, adopted a defence orientated strategy, whereby not losing became a prerequisite, and it could bring the German’s glory on home soil in a month’s time.
It is a philosophy he hopes will bring glory to the Boks at the 2007 Rugby World Cup too. Luckily for White he will have a preview of the concept when the Germanâ€™s take on the world at home in the Soccer World Cup starting this weekend.
“When JÃ¼rgen took over he decided the Germans were not going to lose anymore. He immediately got his team’s defence in order. Germany then started drawing their matches; shaking off their culture of losing,” he told Die Volksblad.
“Now the Germans are, with their defence system in place and their attacking play much improved as a result of greater self-confidence, among the favourites to win the World Cup.”
White though is taking no chances and has recalled several stalwarts for the first Test against Scotland in Durban. Crucially, Os du Randt returns in the front-row, while only Wynand Olivier lock Johann Muller have yet to earn a Test cap. Both are included on the bench.
Springbok captain John Smit is thrilled with the preparation this week. “There was no Test atmosphere before last week’s match against the World XV,” he said. “This week’s training was completely different. The team is prepared and it feels as if everything has received attention.”
“We realise the only way to prepare for the World Cup is to be successful. The match on Saturday will be a tough test because the Scots have already beaten England and France this year,” Smit added.