'Old school' Jake wants tours to return
SPOTLIGHT: In an era of instant gratification, a man with ‘old school’ values is advocating for the return of long tours.
It was announced this week that South Africa will remain part of the SANZAAR collaboration, for the next 10 years, while also having teams playing in Europe.
On the international stage, the Springboks will continue to contest a ‘new-look’ Rugby Championship, which includes a new mini-tour format – while the domestic franchises will feature in an expanded Pro competition in Europe.
It raised the question about SA Rugby’s dual loyalty and how it will impact on the game in the Republic.
Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White believes it affords the country a “best of both worlds” situation.
“We’re playing with our franchises in the Northern Hemisphere and competing against the All Blacks and Wallabies regularly as well,” White told a virtual media briefing.
However, he felt there was an opportunity to turn back the clock and revert to a very successful formula of the past.
“I am perhaps a bit ‘old school’ in my thought processes, [but] I would like us to undertake long tours and play the All Blacks in a three-Test series,” White said.
The last time South Africa undertook a ‘long’ tour to New Zealand was in 1994, when the All Blacks won the three-match series 2-0 – with the third Test a draw.
Two years later the All Blacks undertook their last lengthy tour to South Africa – playing in four Tests on SA soil.
The last match of the 1996 Tri-Nations was at Newlands – a win for the All Blacks.
They followed that up with two tour wins, while the Boks won the fourth and final Test of that series.
Such tours disappeared off the roster with the advent of professionalism in 1996 and the only ‘long’ tour that still remains is when the British and Irish Lions visit the Southern Hemisphere – South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.
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Despite the absence of his desired ‘long tours’, White still believes there is plenty value in continuing to compete with the likes of the All Blacks and Wallabies.
“We should never doubt the value we derived from playing in the Southern Hemisphere,” the Bulls boss said.
“Playing against Australasian teams at Super Rugby and international level proved to be an asset to our rugby.
“We’ve won two World Cups during the Super Rugby era, so it certainly suggests that it was an alliance that worked.”
White said moving north will be good for the franchise players.
“The players can spend a bit more time at home with their families, due to the competition structure and time zones.
“It’s a different part of the world and perhaps a different challenge for us too – as players and as coaches,” he said.
“However, you’re still going to have our best players competing against the best in the world in the All Blacks and the Wallabies.
“It really can’t be a bad thing and we win both ways.”