Boks looking to bounce back

South Africa coach Jake White has labelled the massive 49-0 defeat at the hands of Australia a "freak result", and is confident there will be no repeat against New Zealand on Saturday. [more]

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South Africa coach Jake White has labelled the massive 49-0 defeat at the hands of Australia a "freak result", and is confident there will be no repeat against New Zealand on Saturday.

White agreed with All Blacks coach Graham Henry, who described the Springboks’ second heaviest defeat of all time as "an aberration" and added: "The game got away from South Africa and they didn’t get the bounce of the ball."

"Graham Henry hit the nail on the head," said White. "The ball didn’t bounce for us on Saturday, things went from bad to worse.

"[Henry] understands rugby. He coached Wales and the first year they were phenomenal, the second year they weren’t and did Graham Henry become a bad coach? Now he has come home and become a brilliant coach.

"It happens in games. I don’t believe you need to judge us on one fixture. It was a poor performance and it happens. Tiger Woods never made the US Open golf cut this year and he’s the number one golfer in the world."

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The Springboks coach added that his team needed to move on from their loss if they are to have any chance against the All Blacks at the Westpac Trust stadium on Saturday.

"It’s something we never envisaged," White said. "We came here expecting to do well. We knew it would be difficult. Now we have 80 minutes of rugby on Saturday and 80 minutes changes a lot of things.

"One of the things about being a coach is that people look up to you, especially the players. You have to make sure that you send the right signals out. It’s easy to creep into a hole and pretend nothing has happened.

"As I said to the players, it’s been easy when we have been winning. But you judge real people when you are going down as well. It’s easy to stand in a circle when you have won and say everything is great. But you have to look at each other when you are going through the bad times."

White has made five changes to the side for Saturday’s game against the All Blacks, a move which he said does not represent a pressing of the panic button.

Amongst other things, there is a new half-back combination and a new-look loose trio to try and counter an All Black team which has rested eight players.

White once again blamed injuries to key players Schalk Burger, Jean de Villiers and Bakkies Botha as a reason for the Boks’ defeat, adding that he now realises how much the loss of the trio means to the team, and admitted he envies the All Blacks’ strength in depth.

"I have been saying for two years that we are always going to hit the wall in terms of injuries to our players. What Graham Henry has done is great for him because he knows that if he catches a few injuries it’s not going to make too much difference," he stated.

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