Jake White has questioned Peter de Villiers’s policy to ignore overseas-based Springboks.
The two most contentious positions when the tour group was named – tighthead and flyhalf – have again come up for discussion. South Africa’s two premier No 3s – CJ van der Linde and BJ Botha – both play in Ireland and were ignored for the end-of-year tour.
White doubts whether John Smit’s move to tighthead will work in future, and with Bismarck du Plessis’s hamstring injury forcing him home, he can’t understand why Van der Linde wasn’t called up from Leinster.
“To me it doesn’t make any sense [not using European-based players],” White said while promoting Sky Sports’ coverage of the Test on Saturday.
“We haven’t got a fly-half while Butch James has been playing unbelievable rugby at Bath. They’ve also flown over Jannie du Plessis when they could have picked CJ van der Linde, who’s already used to European conditions at Leinster.”
The Poms have bulked up their loose-forward resources with James Haskell and Jordan Crane (who both weigh 115kg) brought into the team and 22 respectively and White feels Danie Rossouw could’ve been used to counter this.
“I’m surprised CJ’s not playing and that Danie Rossouw is not starting [in the back-row] because that’s the way you can beat England. England must be favourites because their backs are against the wall but I think South Africa can win.”
White’s team broke a six-match losing streak at Twickenham when they beat England 25-14 in 2006 and he acknowledged how difficult it is to win there.
“Winning at Twickenham is really tough. We need our goal-kicker to be on song and we need our forwards to be dominant. It’s going to be a really interesting Test match because England are not just going to stand back and watch us. If the weather is really dodgy it will also favour England.”