White banks on camp

Jake White said he hopes his two-week training camp will be adequate preparation ahead of their end-of-year tour.

The Absa Currie Cup’s early conclusion means that when the Springboks depart for Ireland next week, White would have had an extended period (in relation to previous years) to prepare his squad.

“Having three weeks before our first Test makes such a big difference to our programme,” White told Beeld. “In previous years we’ve had a week or two before our first match.

In addition to the time he has with the 28-man squad, he has also had a conditioning and training camp with those contracted Boks, who were pulled out of the Currie Cup, and are touring.

White said he will endeavour to ensure that his squad would have to do minimum preparation while in the UK.

“I want to make sure everything is on place before we board that plane,” White said. “This means we could have the luxury of cancelling a practice or two if the weather in Ireland or England makes it hard to train.”

He conceded that the lack of match practice for his players would be a concern. The contracted Boks last played on 8 September at Ellis Park against Australia while the rest of his squad would not have played a competitive match in a month when they play Ireland on 11 November.

“I know that by November 11 it will be a long time since some of the lads had their last game, particularly the contracted Springboks who were not involved in the Currie Cup competition.

“When we play Ireland I will know whether the boys are rusty. Then we will also be able to see whether their training programme during the last few weeks has been successful.”

White said that the tour would provide him with valuable insight into the composition of his World Cup squad and added that the omission of experienced players like Os du Rant, Victor Matfield and Percy Montgomery was a calculated risk.

“The newcomers (Bevin Fortuin, Frans Steyn, Jaco Pretorius and Hilton Lobberts) have the opportunity to see what Test rugby is about. They are very versatile and with a view to the World Cup tournament it is important to strengthen our depth,” he said.

The Boks have an abysmal record on their last five year-end tours, particularly at Twickenham were they have lost five times dating back to 1998, conceding 152 points and scoring just 52. White was acutely aware of this and was adamant that the side were determined to reverse the fortunes.

“Our record on the last few November tours has not been good. That is why we want to win every match on this tour.”