Jake White throws out statistics at every press conference to reinforce whatever position it is he wants to sell on the day. Invariably, few challenge them. Weâ€™ve given him a few to suck on.
Here are a few statistics he can think about in the next few days in New Zealand so that he does not further embarrass himself at press conferences.
Before I start letâ€™s get one thing out of the way. Joe van Niekerk was 100 percent accurate in his story about a 100 dollar bounty on George Smithâ€™s dreadlock. It happened in the 2002 Tri Nations test, played at the Gabba in Brisbane. The Boks, under Rudolf Straeuli, lost 38-27.
I know it to be true because I was standing in the changeroom, in the huddle, when De Wet Barry took the dreadlock out of his pocket to claim the bounty prize.
That off my chest, letâ€™s get down to some statistics that White may want to suck on.
1. Percy Montgomery, Breyton Paulse, Jaco van der Westhuyzen, Joe van Niekerk, Victor Matfield, Eddie Andrews, John Smit (captain), Os du Randt, Fourie du Preez, Jacques Cronje and CJ van der Linde played for the Boks in the 23-19 Tri Nations win against the Wallabies in Durban to secure the title in 2004. They were all on the field in the 49-0 defeat two years later in Brisbane. So much for being patient and building for a World Cup. To use the example of England’s 76-0 defeat in Brisbane in 1998 is outrageous. England, the following year got pumped by South Africa in the World Cup quarter-final, and won the World Cup only five years after that defeat. Six players from that tour played in the World Cup squad of 30. That should put that one to bed.
2. Whiteâ€™s away win record against the top four teams (New Zealand, England, France and Australia) is one win in eight starts. His home record is six from eight. His overall record against his main opposition at the World Cup is seven from 16, which is less than 50 percent.
3. Whiteâ€™s Boks have lost their last four games against the top four, beaten by the All Blacks in Dunedin, the French in Paris, the French in Cape Town and the Wallabies in Brisbane.
4. In those four tests Whiteâ€™s Boks have leaked 17 tries and scored six.
5. In Whiteâ€™s last three tests in 2006 the Boks have conceded 12 tries and scored two.
6. To allege the Boks had set-piece dominance against Australia in Brisbane is preposterous. Australia fed the scrum 15 times and the Boks 11, with the Boks first attacking scrum feed coming in the 47th minute.
7. In the lineouts it was no better. Aus had 16 lineout throws to SAâ€™s 12 and both teams lost one against the throw, with the two hookers culpable of a scew throw each. Three of Australiaâ€™s tries came from lineout movements. Whereâ€™s the SA dominance?
8. Van der Linde was rightfully pinned twice for scrumming in and collapsing the bind. And the scrum that so upset the Boks, in the 14th minute, was because of an early engage and drive. Nothing to cry about. It happens all the time to every team.
9. Os du Randt has 60-plus test caps, John Smit has 50-plus, Victor Matfield is closing in on 50, Joe van Niekerk if 40-plus, Jaco van der Westhuyzen has close to 30, Jacque Fourie in the mid 20s, Breyton Paulse close to 60, Percy Montgomery has 76 â€¦ this was a bloody experienced Bok test team. This was not a bunch of youngsters, ala Clive Woodwardâ€™s 1998 squad, sent on a tour to hell, when a 20 year-old (read Jonny Wilkinson) ultimately comes good. Montgomery, Du Randt and Paulse are pensioners in terms of experience.
10. To use Whiteâ€™s own words when he said Australia would be under severe pressure. â€˜You lose two in a row and it is hard to get out of that spiralâ€™. Well Jake, youâ€™ve now lost the two in a row, so I can only assume you are in that spiral you warned Australia about.