Ahead of this weekend's clash against Australia, Jake White says it's now or never for South Africa.
Boks Must Beat All Blacks And Wallabies Ahead Of RWC 2019, Says Jake White
The Rugby Championship may be in full swing at the moment, and there are autumn Internationals to be played later this year, but the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan looms large with nearly a year to go until the first match.
All Test rugby sides know the importance of the build-up to World Cups. Wins in the lead-up can inspire confidence and help psychologically prepare players for the pressure of facing the game’s strongest sides.
Jake White, who coached the Springboks to World Cup victory in 2007, echoed that sentiment, explaining to Rugby World that there is now pressure on South Africa to start beating the marquee teams in the southern hemisphere, the All Blacks and the Wallabies.
“I’m just going to use South Africa (as an example). If they don’t start beating New Zealand and Australia now, its highly unlikely that they will be able to psychologically get ready for the World Cup.”
The Springboks have been in dire straits the last couple of years but they have shown steady improvement in 2018, culminating in a series win over England in June. However if they are to seriously contend in Japan, they have to scare the All Blacks and Wallabies. They have not beaten one of the pair since Round five of the 2016 Rugby Championship, besting Australia. They last beat New Zealand in 2014.
South Africa defeating the Kiwis this month would be particularly significant as both sides are in Pool B for the World Cup.
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White goes on to reference how England, and Sir Clive Woodward, a year before the 2003 World Cup knew the importance of beating a southern hemisphere side.
“Clive knew that when they (England) beat New Zealand in New Zealand, and then beat Australia in Australia, just before the 2003 World Cup, they were actually ready to win a World Cup. And so he had to put them in that pressure situation for them to win it.”
“When Clive took over the side, they didn’t have the belief they could beat Southern hemisphere sides, but if you go to Twickenham now you see how proud they are with little plaques that are against the wall with how many times they have beaten New Zealand, South Africa and Australia.”
There is evidence to support White’s claim. His 2007 World Cup-winning side beat both New Zealand and Australia back-to-back in the 2006 Tri-Nations. They then beat Australia in the 2007 Tri-Nations, a couple of months before the World Cup.
The Springboks will get the opportunity to test themselves against their southern hemisphere rivals this weekend as they face the Wallabies at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. A week later they face the All Blacks in Wellington.
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