Sun, Aug 26, 2007 - Page 23 News List

RUGBY WORLD CUP: Springbok coach admits player discontent


South Africa coach Jake White has admitted that some of his players have taken exception to some of the more mundane details of trying to get in the best shape possible for the World Cup.

The Springboks made it to Edinburgh for their latest warm-up match against Scotland but getting to Murrayfield for yesterday's match gave the squad the kind of challenge they are not at all used to.

Having watched a second string team beat Irish side Connacht 18-3 in midweek, South Africa's squad departed the Emerald Isle for what proved to be an arduous trip to the Scottish capital.

But for White it was all character-building stuff that will come in handy when they have to travel around France on high-speed TGV trains during the World Cup.

"I won't sit here and say we've had the ideal preparation -- it took us half the time to get from Shannon to Edinburgh as it took from Cape Town to Shannon," White said.

"But we set this up and knew we'd have to travel a bit more than we usually do, that we'd have to show a bit more character and maybe get out of our comfort zone," he said.

"Our group of players have to realize that we get spoiled now -- we get very well looked after by British Airways. So I think it's good to go on a tour like this and see what life's really like," White said.

"Standing in a queue to book your own luggage in, when you haven't showered for 11 hours, is different to what they're used to," he said. "France is not going to be easy -- we'll have to travel by TGV to different places," White said.

"It was not pleasant and there were some players who took exception to getting to bed at 2am with no supper, but that's good," he said. "We're not going to say we've now got an excuse for playing poorly against Scotland."

Scotland beat a mostly second string Ireland side 31-21 at Murrayfield two weeks ago.

South Africa, meanwhile, romped to a 105-13 victory over Namibia, but White hopes their recent travelling experience has given his side a fresh insight into the real challenges that lie ahead.

"The players had time to recover after Namibia and have had time to prepare, and the game against Connacht probably provided our first-choice guys with a wake-up call, as they sat in the stands watching," he said.

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