Jake White is urging Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus to follow his World Cup winning lead and bring in an experienced coach to help prepare the team for next year’s tournament in Japan.
White supplemented his coaching panel in 2007 by asking Eddie Jones to bring his experience of having taken Australia to the final four years earlier where they lost to England in Sydney and believes this support was crucial to lifting the trophy in France.
White holds up the All Blacks coaching system as proof that you can never have too many “ cooks” when problem solving at international level and writes in his alloutrugby.com column that Erasmus should follow suit and puts forward a trio of Erasmus, Heyneke Meyer and Nick Mallett as one possible option.
White is adamant this kind of help would protect Erasmus from the kind of flak Jones has taken during a five-game losing run that ended with a win over the Springboks in Cape Town but Erasmus’s men took the series 2-1.
Jones has yet to appoint a new defence coach and is doing the head coach role and attack himself.
White told alloutrugby.com: “When the pressure is on, that’s when you need guys with experience, because that’s when the holes open up.
“People understand the importance of having players with lots of Test caps who can handle the pressure of big games. Sometimes having a coaching staff made up of head coaches who understand the nuances of different situations, places and players is a hell of a bonus.
“I don’t have the perfect model, but the one with Wayne Smith, Steve Hansen and Graham Henry is the benchmark. In my time at the Boks, I had Gert Smal and Allister Coetzee who had been head coaches. And that’s why I got Eddie Jones to join us, because he’d been in the previous World Cup final. He’d been there and done it; it was a no-brainer.
“After we won, people said it was because of Eddie. That doesn’t bother me at all because I’ve got no doubt that he helped us win – that’s the reason I brought him in!
“We didn’t necessarily do everything Eddie suggested, but the conversations we had made us better. We played good-cop, bad-cop and Eddie smoothed over speed bumps with players and management that could have slowed us down on the way to becoming world champions.
“Like the three guys who sat in the All Blacks box, we all had egos and our own ideas about the game, because it’s impossible that international head coaches are aligned on everything. Eddie has obviously been taking flak for England’s slump, and that kind of flak will eventually hit Rassie Erasmus just as it has hit Michael Cheika and Guy Noves. It happens to everyone.
“But maybe New Zealand have shown the way. If South Africa was coached by Rassie, Heyneke Meyer and Nick Mallett, wouldn’t the Boks be in a better position to avoid speed bumps, and win next year’s World Cup?”
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