Jake White’s latest gripe is with the lack of control he has over Vodacom Super 14 franchises in this country, and how it effects the Springboks.
The fact that he has no say of who plays where in terms of both position and franchise is, as he says, to the detriment of the national game.
“Things can’t work if the Springbok flyhalf plays fullback for his franchise, the openside flank plays on the blindside, the inside centre at outside centre and the props are played out of position too,” White told the media in Wellington.
White used the systems in place in New Zealand as a example to illustrate his point. The Kiwis have had a stronghold on Super Rugby since it’s inception in 1996, and have also dominated the international game for over a decade.
â€œSo we must be crazy not to see the benefits in their system, from which they are getting a lot more return than us,” said White.
“New Zealand contract all their top players. So when players like Mils Muiliaina and Byron Kelleher are told to move to another franchise, they become better players and New Zealand get more competitive teams.
“Every decision is based on the good of the All Blacks team.”
White may have raised an inherently valid point. But what do these statements suggest for the Boks chances at the World Cup next year? Even if he is given the power to control the placement and positioning of players next year, that only leaves a few months to mould a side at the conclusion of the Sanzar tournament.
More pertinently, what do these statements suggest for the Tri-Nations this year?
“Against New Zealand and Australia, when we get it wrong it will really go wrong unless we get the systems in place.
“I don’t want to make it sound like all doom and gloom, but the Super 14 is the basis on which I pick from and the five franchises have not performed well.”
Say what he wants, it doesn’t get much gloomier than that. The Bok coach has just given us the reason for failing, not just against Australia, but in the Tri-Nations before the Boks have even played their second match.