Jan 21, 2014
'This is not just another game' - White
The Cell C Sharks match against Saracens is not just 'another game' for new Director of Rugby Jake White, but a great opportunity to test his side's readiness for the upcoming Super Rugby competition, test combinations, view young talent and give his team a good run against quality opposition.
White, the Springbok coach who secured World Cup success in 2007, took over a no-name Brumbies side in Australia two years ago and transformed them into a team that contested the final two years later. He previously assisted The Sharks earlier in his career and now returns as Director of Rugby, overseeing rugby in the province, but his primary focus is on the Super Rugby campaign and he has not disguised his desire to coach a winning team.
“We all know how tough this competition is," he explains. “The Sharks played in the final two years ago, then came eighth last year, which just shows how small the margins are. One thing we need to stress is that we have attention to detail. There is no doubt the players want to win. There is no doubt there are great resources available to them. We have great players here. What I can focus on is making sure we are a little more accurate and there is complete attention to detail in everything we do - that we don't just go through the motions."
There are a number of things White wants out of the Sanlam Private Investments Shield clash against Saracens. He says: “Obviously people appreciate they are in the middle of their season, while this is the first hit-out for us and we haven't had any contact situations of a fully-fledged fixture.
"What I enjoy about this game is that it mimics a little bit of what we can expect from the Bulls in our opening Super XV match. Saracens play a little bit like the Bulls: they have a big pack of forwards, their set-piece is strong, they kick a lot. It gives me and the coaching staff an opportunity to see the things we want to do against the Bulls, to have an idea of whether or not we can play against the Bulls in a certain way".
White added; "Obviously we can't give too much away as it's televised and there will be a lot of analysis of the game. I think it gives us an opportunity from a playing style point of view what we're up against when we play the Bulls in February.”