Jake stands firm

Springbok coach Jake White has dismissed the argument that the lack of a recognised fetcher cost the Boks victory.

The Boks though certainly did not compete as well at the breakdown as in Tests that have involved Schalk Burger. Joe van Niekerk had a productive match, but White could only point out one crucial instance when Van Niekerk secured the ball.

Instead, a visibly upset White told the post match press conference that the Boks loss can be attributed to Percy Montgomery’s missed conversion of Brent Russell’s try.

“If Monty’s conversion kick had gone over it would put us in a superb position and we would have gone on to win and would not have needed a fetcher,” White said.

“There are other ways of looking at the game. Obviously crucial things happened in the game – the penalty that Jaco gave away to Betsen, the kick that hit the pole and the penalty just before half-time. Had we got those calls we probably would have won the Test match.”

“But,” he conceded, “in reality France were very good today and deserved their win. Rugby is about the set phases and credit to the French for that.”

Regardless, blowing a 23-11 lead with 30 minutes remaining is almost criminal, but White argued that the loss of several top Boks had been a contributing factor.

“I’m more and more convinced we need consistency in selection.” That said White will only announce his Tri-Nations squad on Monday after it was initially expected to be made public on Saturday.

White spoke of his desperate need for “survival” and with that in mind he will probably stick to the tried and tested. Unfortunately those players are beginning to feel the weight of no break from top level rugby and injuries are becoming common occurence in the squad.

Added to that, several problem areas were cruelly exposed. Most notably the front-row was given a bit of a lesson, while the flyhalf conundrum continues. The lack of depth in crucial positions was also cause for concern.

By Andrew Hollely