No more excuses Jake. No more board presentations. No more nonsense. Your time is up.
As a long-time supporter of Jake White as Bok coach, that ended with a crushing defeat at Loftus on Saturday. The Bok coach has nothing to offer the national side — and this has become clear since the Boks crashed to France in Paris. White’s conservatism in selection has buried him. His unwillingness to try anything different in the last 18 months has meant this squad has regressed and whispers that the early success was more down to the presence of Schalk Burger have become screams in the latter’s absence.
We can look for positives in two Jaques Fourie tries, but if you think that was any sign of progress you’d be deluding yourself. Saturday’s effort was a disgrace against the All Blacks mix and match XV that Graham Henry sent out to blunt the Boks in the opening 40 minutes and take the edge off a potential altitude blowout from the All Blacks.
Henry has to be applauded for working the depth in his squad, but I still challenge anyone in New Zealand to convince me this was not the ‘B’ team. The ‘A’ team was very much the side that handled Australia 3-0 this season.
You have to put the defeat into context. The All Blacks were poor in the first 20 minutes, they trailed 11-3, they lost their prop and fullback and their replacement back, the young wonderkid of New Zealand rugby, Toeava, had a nightmare afternoon, knocking on twice when tries would have been the result of him not losing the ball. His midfield defence was also ordinary and he was poorly aligned in the move that led to Fourie’s second try.
Add 50 000 South Africans, as a support base, to the equation and then try and find a positive in a 45-26 defeat.
Oh, I forgot that the All Blacks lost nine lineout balls, had their scrum wheeled once, messed up three tries and still got away with a 19 point win.
And if it may have slipped your mind, the All Blacks played against the Wallabies in Auckland last Saturday and flew to South Africa in two separate squads on Sunday and Monday, while the Boks have been home for three weeks.
The squad White has consistently chosen is not good enough to win a Tri Nations, a World Cup or consecutive tests at home against the best, let alone one test away from home.
White is the culprit here and not the players who can’t hold onto the ball or take the right decision. It is the coach who for the last 18 months has continued to choose these players.
Sadly, and I am great supporter of his play, John Smit played his worst test at home. It was also his poorest in terms of leadership. He lost his cool and he turned any goodwill there was from the referee (who had been very kind to the Boks) against the South Africans.
Percy Montgomery has been done a disservice by White’s insistence to play him in the last 30 tests. So too Smit.
The back row combination, despite the injury hassles, was a shambles. As was the childish mindgames White played when announcing the replacement. There was no plan outside of playing the percentages and hoping to rely on All Blacks mistakes.
Gert Smal, in five years as Boks forward coach, has not turned the unit into the best in the business, despite an abundance of natural talent. The backs don’t looked coached and certainly don’t play with any form of coached structure. The few sparks today were down to the natural ability of Pretorius, De Villiers and Fourie.
There is no defence specialist in the squad coaching team, hence the 23 missed tackles in the first hour, compared to New Zealand’s three. The strength coach, Mark Steele, has never been replaced. The team has not had a manager all year … Yes, this is the Springbok team we are talking about.
And White has operated on his own, doing it his way when it comes to selections.
Yes, there has been pressure on transformation, but again White picked Gaffie du Toit and Andre Snyman as his wingers against Scotland! There was no justification in that selection -ever. White’s media interview trying to justify every issue around the team selections, was a shocker. When you read it (it appeared in all the Independent Newspapers) you’ll be embarrassed for the coach. Every accusation is defended by the fact he was supposedly misquoted. Not good enough Jake.
It is five defeats in a row and seven successive defeats against the big four of world rugby. Worse than the defeats is that the same guys have offered nothing new every week.
There are better players in South Africa than what have played in the Tri Nations this year. White refuses to acknowledge this and this is why he must go after the Tri Nations.
Get a new guy in with fresh ideas and an open mind to selections and give the Boks a chance against Ireland and England.
The next two weekends against New Zealand and Australia are meaningless. Any kind of result won’t stop the bleeding, which is internal and terminal.
You gave it your best shot Jake, but your time is up. If you can’t walk away because of the financial implications then SARU’s bosses must fire you and give you the year payout that would be owed to you.
Once again mediocrity in a Bok coach’s results will get him a good cheque in the bank. But it is a small price to pay when you consider what happened in Pretoria, not to mention Brisbane and Wellington.