Sorry six beckons for Boks

A Springbok defeat on Saturday, coupled with a Pumas win against France, would leave the Springboks in exactly the same world ranking Jake White found them three years ago – sixth.

White’s Springboks climbed from sixth to second in 2004, but since have dropped out of the top three and now look like dropping out of the top five for the first time since White took charge.

England, even if they beat the Boks for a second successive Saturday, can’t leapfrog the Boks into sixth place. Their best hope is to move from eighth to seventh.

White, a disciple of statistics, especially win percentages will know the score on this one.

And he will also know that his team has rarely had success in test matches officiated by Alain Rolland. The Irishman, of French heritage, has refereed the Boks on four occasions and they have only won once.

It is interesting to note that the Boks defeat against England last Saturday was the first time the Boks have lost when New Zealander Steve Walsh has had the whistle.

In six previous matches the Boks have won five and drawn 14-all with Australia in Perth.

There is a perception among the South Africans that Walsh is anti-Bok, but the statistics don’t add up if this is the case.

Another statistic that won’t be adding up for White is his win percentage. Earlier in the year the Bok media manager spoke of notable milestones in the build-up to the French test.

Among the milestones, said the press release, was White’s winning percentage as Bok coach. The release said that if the Boks beat France on Saturday White’s winning record would be 71.5 percent, which would make him the second most successful professional test coach in Bok history after Kitch Christie, who won 14 from 14.

Nick Mallett’s Bok winning record as coach is 71 percent, achieved in 37 tests.

White equals Mallett’s record of 37 tests, the most by a Bok coach. What he comes nowhere near to matching is Mallett’s win percentage. The half a percent his media machine was about to claim prior to the French test has dropped by more than 10 percent.

If White wins he will have a 60 percent win record. If he loses it will be 56 percent! That’s in the Rudolf Straeuli bracket. Ouch.