Rugby Championship

Jake: Defence is the way forward for Boks

Jake White (Gallo Images)
Jake White (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Former national coach Jake White says a defensive-minded approach is the way forward for the Springboks.

White expressed his view via a column for the All Out Rugby website where he noted that South Africa’s recent wins over New Zealand and Australia were built on staunch defensive efforts.

In the 36-34 win over the All Blacks in Wellington, the Boks only had 25% possession and were forced to make a whopping 235 tackles, while the hosts were asked to make a meagre 61.

In last Saturday’s 23-12 win over the Wallabies in Port Elizabeth, the Boks enjoyed less than 40% possession and made 144 tackles compared to Australia’s 74.

“What has really been pleasing to me is that we’re not being seduced into running from everywhere anymore. South Africa is again seeing that defence is the cornerstone of winning Test matches,” White wrote.

White added that his Springbok team won the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France employing similar tactics.

“We finished the 2007 Rugby World Cup with the leading try-scorer, the leading points-scorer and the trophy. People say ‘that’s not how you play the game,’ but the Boks are showing that’s exactly how you win.”

White said the Boks’ recent victories would have resonated around the world.

“South Africa produces great tacklers and great defenders and the Boks are hitting the nail on the head because not only are we gaining psychological victories by beating New Zealand and Australia, but the way we’re doing it is ringing alarm bells for the rest of the world.

“We scored 36 points against the All Blacks without the ball, and we mustn’t allow ourselves to be hoodwinked again into thinking that we have to run it from everywhere because that’s not how you score 36 points against New Zealand.”

READ Jake White’s full column on the All Out Rugby website

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