It took just one convincing Bok win to get Bok coach Jake White going again. He slammed the media for doom and gloom following the stuttering win against a World XV.
“Look at my record,” White told the media in Port Elizabeth.
Dale Granger, writing in the Argus, described the press conference as lively and wrote that White seized the opportunity to compare his performance as Bok coach with that of South Africa’s overall record.
He also drew comparisons between the weight of unrealistic expectation on his team’s shoulders with that of Brazil at the World Cup.
“Two years ago no one might have said that today we could have had a 70% win record, or would be unbeaten at home with a lot of milestones on our mantlepiece,” said White.
“Ireland, the Triple Crown champions, were first up at home and we achieved a series win when no-one gave us a chance. Then we put 50 points past a supposedly weak Wales side who won the Six Nations a year later. We beat France for the first time at home since 1975 and then Australia at Perth, the first time we had beaten a tier one country away in 20 tests. We also were Tri-Nations champions.
“This team has surpassed all expectations, not only from the public, but also the media. They couldn’t have been lower than they were prior to 12 June 2004 (when White took over after the fiasco of Kamp Staaldraad and the 2003 World Cup).”
In reaction to pockets of booing at Ellis Park during the World XV game, White said: “The public will only over-react to what they read in the media, not the other way around.
“This week everyone’s very happy. We beat an unbelievably good Scottish side and we’re back again. The team is suddenly loved again and everyone’s positive, largely because of what you guys (the media) said. “I’m not saying the public should not get negative if we do not play well. Just that there is an onus on the written media and TV that impacts on the public.”
White said the Boks could not be compared to the Brazilian soccer team.
“I would say the Brazilian soccer side have probably got a 90% win rate in history whereas we have got a 61% win rate. There is this false illusion that we have to win every Test match, but just look at the history books.
“When we beat the All Blacks (in 2004) it was the first time in nine Tests we had done that. Today we have a group of 30 players who have beaten them not once, but twice.
“The media needs to reflect this. Instead, there are very big mood swings depending on whether we win, lose or play below par. I’m not blaming anybody, just reiterating how things are while fully aware of the pressure of playing for or coaching South Africa.
“Expectations are there as a nation, but in the last two years we have surpassed anything that was expected of us.”
*For the record Jake: Brazil’s win record is hardly 90 percent. It is considerably less.