With the weather in Bloemfontein a huge improvement from the day before- the
Springbok team announcement was done at a press conference at around 1300.
Vusi Kama welcomed everyone with the Coach flanked on the “openside” by
Schalk Burger and on the “otherside” by Victor Matfield. I must comment that
neither had looked as if anyone had sponsored the hairdo’s of the Boks!)
The Coach started by reading the 22 names. Seeing that the team has already
been posted lets jump to the questions.
When asked on the inclusion of Danie Rossouw at 8, Coach White said that
Rossouw had performed well for the team when played @ 8 in the EOYT 06 and
although a new combination- it was done with the RWC ( being played in
Northern Hemisphere) in mind. Pierre Spies – who is on the bench will be
the cover for 6, 7 & 8.
He also stressed the fact that Ruan Pienaar could cover 9-15 and Frans Steyn
could cover 10-15.
On a question about the inclusion of Ashwin Willemse- the coach indicated
that he personally had worked with Ashwin since his u 19 days and really
rates him, that is was the responsibility of the Coaching staff to get him
into to peak physical condition- and that is was important to get him back
to full test match form as soon as possible, in order to consider him for
RWC ’007. Coach White also revisited the fact(s) that Ashwin is a great
athlete and had been Best player 2003 and and and.
When Questioned on the effect of the S 14 final and the amount of time that
was available to fit in Victor Matfield acknowledged that the week may not
be enough, but that the honour of putting on the Green Jersey is such that
all players will be “giving their best” He further mentioned that the core
of the squad has been together for 3 years know and that it would help a
lot( wrt team cohesion).
When asked on the splitting of the Ruan / Butch combination, Coach White
said that if FdP was fit he would have played with January on the bench. He
is quite happy with the fact that January and James had played well together
last year at Twickenham.
All the various injuries were then discussed- none seem serious , but it had
some effect on team selection. It was mentioned that Joe Van Niekerk hurt
his back in the gym and not in contact and that Jaque Fourie’s injury is of
such a nature that the Medical Staff has prescribed a situation of
“Conservative Management”. Coach White said this could be anything from 1
week to 4 weeks.
The questions then turned to the English.
The Coach said that it might be that with the team selected- the English
could play a Bath type of “expansive’ game on Saturday. He then highlighted
all the various English players selected- skills in playing such a game-
down to the athletic props and Schofields ability to take the ball forward.
When no further questions was forthcoming from the floor- the conference was
This time around- only the TV okes were allowed to quality time with the
Coach and players.
Thanks Ruggaworld- I really enjoyed this- hope some of it was informative.