Former Springbok coach Jake White says he is ready to help save the team from their present crisis. He also wants to play a notable role in the future of SA rugby.
“I want to be director of rugby in South Africa,” White said on Tuesday.
But the man who masterminded the SA World Cup triumph in France last year does not want his former job back and he wants to stay out of the limelight.
Stephen Nell writes in Die Burger that SA Rugby Union president Oregan Hoskins has already made it clear that Peter de Villiers’s position as national coach is in no danger.
However, the Springboks have lost four of their five Tri-Nations Test matches this season and the players seem to be struggling to adapt to De Villiers’s rugby philosophy.
“I don’t want to become rich from SA rugby,” White said. “I don’t want to be in the limelight and I’m not looking for the pressures that go with it. I’ve had my turn.
“All I’d like to do is help. That’s what I have always wanted to do.”
White was unable to attend the Test in Durban last week when Australia beat South Africa 27-15.
However, he has formed an opinion on the basis of observations he made during other matches.
Comfortable with the players
“There are too many forwards standing around in the backline,” he said. “They try to do half of what we did, and half of their own thing. Half of everything leaves you with nothing,” White said.
“Schalk Burger was, until recently, the best player in the world. Now he is replaced during a match by Luke Watson. I don’t understand that.”
White said it would be easy for him to join in as a consultant. He would be comfortable with the players because the core of the team that had won the World Cup was still there.
Former Wallaby coach Eddie Jones, who was an adviser to the Springboks last year, has meanwhile told an English daily newspaper, The Independent, that De Villiers’s idea to play running rugby was doomed from the start.
The Springboks will get worse if they continue in this way,” Jones said. “No one in world rugby is playing the way their coach is talking about; not successfully anyway.
“Everyone has discipline, policies and a procedure in their game. The way he is talking is nonsense. You can’t just play an expansive, wide game.”
Plenty of talent
Talking about the Springboks, Jones said, “This is still a very good squad of players. Most are even at their peak or approaching it. So there is plenty of talent but what they need is the organisation and discipline.
“The hard thing for Peter is that he has never coached professionally and this is one of the most difficult teams to coach.
“He has to change his philosophy because it doesn’t suit these players.
“Peter’s big test now is to learn. If he learns, he can turn it around. But if he continues to be stubborn, he won’t last long because his tactics won’t work.”
Jones said the experimental laws required of players to be fitter than before, and the ability to play from unstructured match situations. But rugby had not changed basically.
New Zealand played “nearly traditional rugby” when they beat Australia 39-10 in Auckland and the Crusaders played a similar game in the Super 14 series.Tweet