Springbok coach Jake White woke up on Sunday morning with far more to be pleased about than not.
Despite getting criticism from many quarters, White, John Smit and co continued to restore the pride to Bok rugby with a gutsy, ugly display yesterday over a robust Scottish team.
His team managed to play rather poorly yet still emerged comfortably 14-point winners against Scotland at the EPRU Stadium in Port Elizabeth.
While the Scots tried to blame the referee and his assistants for robbing them of the chance for an historic first ever win over the Boks in South Africa, White preferred to heap praise on Scotalnd.
“I’ve got to compliment Scotland. I thought the way they did their homework in the lineouts especially put us under pressure. Last week we were allowed to get ball and drive from the lineout. Today they obviously contested that very well,” said White.
“I can see now why they beat England and France. They deserve a lot of credit.”
“We tried to play as quickly as we could and Scotland had a lot of injuries – I don’t know if they were all injuries – and that slowed the game down. I think that caused us to force it a bit in our own half an dmake mistakes. Full credit to Scotland,” added White.
The win clinched the series 2-0 and represents White’s third home series victory on-the-trot – following Ireland (2004, 2-0) and France (2005, 1-0). The victory also stretched the team’s unbeaten run on home soil to lucky number 13 in-a-row, equalling the Springbok record for consecutive matches without defeat at home.
White though has done it all on his own – with a little help from his players of course – whereas the previous record was jointly held by Ian McIntosh (1 game), Kitch Christie (10 games) and Andre Markgraaff (2 games). White’s sequence does include one draw (30-all against France last year in Durban) while the other sequence was all wins.
Christie is the only other Bok coach, since re-admission to never have lost a Test on home soil.
Captain Smit summed it up best: “It is nice to be able to underperform and still win, but it is not satisfying. This was an important game to win and now we can focus on our task next weekend knowing we need to keep working hard.”
By Andrew Hollely, in Port Elizabeth