Jake White believes the year-end tour has been a success, but a win at Twickenham might just have saved his skin as Springbok coach.
He described their 25-14 win at Twickenham as “massive” and said the Springboks had struck a psychological blow ahead of England’s season opening tour to South Africa in June next year as well as their World Cup pool game in France.
“To play England at Twickenham and beat them for the first time since 1997 is huge in terms of our World Cup preparation,” White said.
“Now we welcome them to Bloemfontein and Pretoria next year, having won at Twickenham. The guys will be full of confidence as we prepare for the World Cup.”
He also lauded the performance of the new caps, although the reality is that he only really saw Franscios Steyn shine, while he would be no closer to knowing the full potential of players like Hilton Lobberts, Ruan Pienaar, Jaco Pretorius or JP Pietersen, who have been bit-part, or in Pietersen’s case, no-part players on tour.
“We’ve discovered some great young talent on this tour and broadened our player base ahead of the World Cup, to 35 or 40 players.
“It’s incredible how far these youngsters have come in one month. The victory on Saturday illustrated how much the players have matured in such a short space of time.”
He was guarded about whether he thought the win at Twickenham would’ve helped him keep the axe at bay for the immediate future, but said he was never anxious about his meeting with the President’s Council on Tuesday.
“I would like to think that I was confident of a positive meeting before this game, so my mindset hasn’t really changed.”