Jake at crossroads

Jake White must throw off the shackles if the Springboks are to win the World Cup.

This is the view of former Bok centre Brendan Venter, who told the Sunday Times that the coach had to adapt his conservative game plan immediately.

“If he keeps going the way he has, he won’t succeed,” he said. “But good coaches work through these situations and adapt, and I believe he has the intellect to do that.”

Venter said White had become more conservative the more successful the Boks had become. “When he started he had fresh ideas and I fully agreed with his defensive tactics. The Boks moved the ball more in attack than in a while, and it was wonderful to watch.

“But then they toured the UK and struggled trying to play the same style. When they came back, Jake adopted a style to match the conditions, and that style began to take hold. The Boks were suddenly driving and kicking the ball more. Playing teams of the same strength, you have to take risks.”

Venter said he had been heartened by what White had said in recent interviews. “He said he had spoken to [French coach] Bernard Laporte, who had said we were so conservative because we feared failure. I hope Jake takes that to heart because we need to play more expansive rugby again.

“Defence and good kicking win World Cups, but the ability to score tries will be just as important next year in France.”