Rugby World Cup: White in no doubt that All Blacks are favourites

2011-04-29 00:00

CANBERRA — The man who won the last Rugby World Cup has endorsed the All Blacks’ prospects of finally ending their 24-year drought at the global tournament in New Zealand later this year.

According to Rugby Heaven’s Marc Hinton, former Springbok coach Jake White, who guided South Africa to their second global crown in France in 2007, has said he believes Graham Henry’s team will end their series of World Cup chokes when they host the tournament for the first time since 1987.

Incidentally, 1987 was also the last occasion an All Blacks captain raised the Webb Ellis Cup.

White, who has just agreed to a four-year deal to coach the Brumbies from 2012, told Radio Sport in an interview from Cape Town he has no doubts the more attack-minded New Zealanders could prevail at this year’s tournament.

“The laws are definitely going to suit the All Blacks and the way they play,” he said. “One of the things they’ve got, and has always been a bonus, is that everybody in New Zealand plays the same style of rugby.

“I’ve got no doubt the All Blacks are favourites. They’ve got a wonderful group of players, they’ve got a coaching staff that stayed on, they’ve got a settled squad unlike the rotation policy they had in 2007, and they’ve got some wonderful players coming through …

“Whoever is going to go there and try to win the World Cup in New Zealand is going to have to be very, very good to take it away from a country like New Zealand in New Zealand.”

White also wasn’t interested in any theory that the All Blacks’ mental fragility would be exposed under the pressure of expectation. He said teams that go to New Zealand banking on that will be on a fool’s errand.

“If the only hope teams have of winning the World Cup is because New Zealand are going to fold then you’re not going to win anyway.”

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