Cape Town - Former Springbok coach Jake White says that the current national side under coach Rassie Erasmus is ready for the 2019 World Cup.
In his latest column for All Out Rugby, White heaped praise on Erasmus and the improvements the Boks have shown under his leadership in 2018.
The Boks finished 2nd in the Rugby Championship, but stunned the All Blacks in Wellington with a 36-34 victory before losing a nail-biter to the world champions at Loftus.
For White, who guided the Boks to a World Cup win in 2007, the side has turned the corner.
"Six months ago, the New Zealand media would never have questioned the All Blacks, but after what happened in Wellington and Pretoria I read an article where they were talking about the World Cup opener against South Africa being 'like war' because whoever loses that match will probably have to face Ireland in the quarter-finals," White wrote.
"That reaction confirms that the Boks are legit. We might not have all the stats that people would like to see, but it’s obvious that South Africa has turned a corner, in their performances and psychologically, and that will make other teams very wary of the Boks."
Looking ahead to 2019, White is optimistic.
"Whether people like it or not, it’s not debateable – the jewel in the rugby crown is the World Cup. The champions get four years’ bragging rights and one thing Rassie has continually said is that his plan is to make sure the team is ready for 2019," White wrote.
"He knows the first game against New Zealand is the one he has to be ready for and, if you measure what he’s done this year, there’s enough there to say the Boks are on track."