Bulls coach Jake White believes the Springboks will take away more game-time and conditioning from the SA A team’s weekend loss to the country’s top franchise, but the result should not have any impact on their Test series against the British and Irish Lions.
The Bulls snatched a 17-14 win over the SA A team in Cape Town, which would have left Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber with much to think about ahead of the first Test against the Lions next Saturday. But White did not believe it would drastically change the national team’s plans.
“You have to take the game in its context. It’s like the British and Irish Lions losing to SA A in midweek,” said White, the Springbok coach from 2004 to 2007.
“Morne Steyn came into our changeroom after the game and said it was exactly what the Springboks needed. They needed us to front up physically and play a different way against them. We managed that and we did some different things to what we normally do as well.
“But I don’t think it provides any indication for the Test series. The Boks needed a hit-out and some more game-time and next week it all starts from zero again.”
White praised the efforts of his pack, many of whom are fresh out of the ranks of junior rugby, and flyhalf Johan Goosen, who dominated the final quarter and won the Man of the Match award.
“Johan is an unbelievable rugby player. It’s the first time he’s played with this team, so two scrumhalves and two outside backs he’s never played with before, and yet he was still the general,” White said.
“He breaks the line, he’s quick, he defends well. When you have a really good flyhalf then you can start really playing, it means you can vary your game. We didn’t just maul and scrum, we were able to move the ball around.
“And our young pack really fronted up nicely. It’s a young pack, most of them are not seasoned players, a lot of them have just come out of our junior ranks, which is fantastic for us. It’s about creating some depth and we were able to play a different game to what we’ve done before.”