VIDEO: Jake White's take on Bok loss to Bulls
REACTION: There is no reason for Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber to reach for the panic button after South Africa ‘A’ lost to the Bulls at the weekend.
There are many prophets of doom that would write off the Boks after their 14-17 loss to the Bulls in Cape Town.
However, former World Cup-winning coach and current Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White is not one of them.
He said the ‘real games’ start this week – when South Africa go head-to-head with the British and Irish Lions in the first match of a three-Test series at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday.
White said the results of the matches in the build-up – the B&I Lions losing to a loaded SA ‘A’ team and a scratch SA ‘A’ losing to the Bulls – are not significant.
“The Test series is what is important,” White told a post-match media briefing from Cape Town at the weekend.
White said veteran Springbok No.10 Morne Steyn – who visited the Bulls’ change room after the match – suggested that the weekend result would assist the Boks.
“Morne told me this is exactly what the Boks needed,” the Bulls boss said.
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“They needed an opposition that fronted up physically and that played a certain way.
“We did those two things really well.
“We played a different style to what we’ve played in the Currie Cup.
“We did a couple of new things that they haven’t seen.
White said he felt his young pack of forwards “fronted up” very well to the more seasoned SA ‘A’ team pack in the Cape Town Stadium hit-out.
He added that the weekend’s result is not an indicator of what could happen in the Test series.
“I know you want me to say there is a crisis [in the Bok camp], but the Boks needed a hit-out and they needed to give the guys game time.”
He said it all starts from ‘zero’ in the first Test on Saturday, July 24.
“Next week [Saturday], when the two sides [Boks, as well as B&I Lions] pick their first-choice sides, that’s when the real action starts.
“From a Springbok view, no-one’s ever going to remember a friendly or warm-up game.
“People will remember the Test series.
“They remember the results of the big games – whether it be the 1974 B&I Lions, 1980 B&I Lions, 1997 B&I Lions or 2009 B&I Lions.
“At the end of the day, it is about winning the Tests.
“The Springboks will definitely be only focusing really on what happens next week and rightly so.”