Winning is everything
8 Jun 2006
When it comes to the Springboks nothing matters more than winning. This is the view of coach Jake White.
White would rather have an ugly win than a commendable defeat: the quality of the rugby is second to the result of the match. With that attitude, fans might not be in for a feast of attractive rugby, but hopefully the winning sequence under White will continue.
White though says once the defensive structure is in place, the Boks can become more adventurous on attack.
But on Saturday, White says he does not care how his players win, as long as they beat Scotland in the first of two Tests. With that in mind, tries by the home side are unlikely come out of elaborately constructed moves, but rather – as has become a trademark of this team in recent seasons – through intercepts and turnovers.
White did admit that the defence was a worry and he wanted a vast improvement in this department before the World Cup in France next year. White’s thinking is that it was this characteristic that won the Boks the the World Cup in 1995 and the Tri-Nations title in 2004.
“Most important is that you should be able to change from a defensive pattern into an attacking one. A team cannot play attacking rugby if it does not have a settled defensive system,” he told Die Volksbladâ€™s Hendrik Cronje.
It will remain a moot point just how long this will take to evolve. Surely every Bok fan will take a winning team over one that looks good, but still loses? World Cup finals are not won playing candyfloss rugby.
“The Springboks have defended well during the past two years, even though we probably did not play as much attacking rugby as we would have liked to do. But we have at least regained a culture of winning,â€ he said in Die Volksblad.
“I expect our attacking play to improve soon as a result of experience, consistency in team selection and confidence because of the winning culture.”
“As happens in any team that play together for a long time, the Springboks understand that the improvement in their attacking play is just around the corner.”