Jake White has begun the mind games ahead of South Africa’s Pool A clash in September. He has studied video footage of England’s warm-up match with Wales and criticised the performance of referee Joel Jutge – the same referee that will officiate in the England v South Africa game on September 13th.
White has contacted Paddy O’Brien with concerns over Jutge’s refereeing at the lineout, claiming that Mark Regan did not throw the ball down the middle, and that he was not standing behind the touchline when delivering the throw.
He is concerned that England may nullify South Africa’s strong lineout options in Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha and Juan Smith. White also criticised England’s ‘boring’ forward-dominated gameplan (where have we heard that before?), stating that it looked like a driving maul practice session, and the fact that they were allowed to get away with ‘trampling’ in the loose.
To me, it sounds like he is worried. South Africa’s strength is their enormous and mobile pack, but England looked as if they might be able to compete up front after a dominant display – if he wasn’t concerned by England’s rejuvenation in the forwards, he wouldn’t bother with these childish campaigns to influence the referee.