How the hell can the Bok squad’s fitness levels be blamed for the defeat at Loftus?
That’s the latest shocker Jake White unleashed on the South African public, both after the match and when interviewed on SuperSport’s Superrugby. White said his team was running on empty and that it was something he predicted years ago.
White is blaming fatigue against an All Blacks squad who played Australia in Auckland on the Saturday and then flew to South Africa in two groups on the Sunday and Monday respectively. They trained for the first time as a group on the Tuesday afternoon and then smashed the Springboks at altitude four days later.
The Boks, for those who may have forgotten, had a fortnight back in South Africa to ready themselves for the All Blacks. And eight of the match 22 play for the Bulls and were playing at home.
White also had the team overseas for five weeks, in which time several squad players never got any game time. What was concerning, according to provincial insiders, is that several of the Boks arrived back overweight and out of shape. They were also very rested.
White keeps on blaming the supposed lack of conditioning on the provincial and regional coaches, but perhaps it is time he looks closer to home as to why he has played the same players in every test match. Here read Percy Montgomery and John Smit, in particular.
It is ridiculous to use fatigue as an excuse, just like it was outrageous when White blamed the 2004 defeat to England at Twickenham on the fact that Bakkies Botha, Schalk Burger and company were physically not big enough to compete with the likes of England. Only a few months earlier the ‘physically challenged’ Boks had smashed the All Blacks at Ellis Park. It was another way of deflecting the attention off the wrong game plan strategy and tactical naivety in the cold and wet English conditions.
Conditioning was not why the Boks lost to New Zealand. Team selections, game plan and attitude were more reflective of the situation.
And for these the coach must take responsibility. Not a fitness coach.
The excuse is as weak as the attempt to describe the team that started on Saturday his B team. If so, then White needs to explain why he has played 12 of the B team exclusively this year and 10 of the ‘B’ team exclusively as his ‘A’ team last year?
Jaque Fourie played and Marius Joubert did not. I know whose the number one and it isn’t Joubert. Yet White consistently this season has thrown Joubert into the mix when he churns out the missing ‘A’ team players. Just like he talks about Gurthro Steenkamp’s absence as a trainsmash when he has always picked Os du Randt, even when Steenkamp was available.