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Home critics get on South Africa's case

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    12 Sep 2016     Getty Images

After their 17-23 loss to Australia on Saturday, former World Cup-winning coach Jake White told Vodacom Rugby that the writing was on the wall for South African rugby.

"In the next five years, unless we make some really strong decisions as a union and a country, our rugby reputation will be lost - maybe forever," he said.

"I love South Africa and our rugby, I always have…one of the greatest days in my life was becoming the Bok coach," he said but added he was concerned where the game was going.

He felt the Currie Cup domestic competition was not the contributing force to the game it once was.

"The Currie Cup was South African rugby's saving grace during the isolation era. To play Currie Cup rugby was almost tougher than playing Test matches at times – when touring sides came to South Africa, and they had to play Northern Transvaal, a lot of teams called it their 'fourth Test match'.

"If you look at the kind of players who are playing Currie Cup now, with the Springboks and internationals away, we are saying that the Currie Cup is not what it used to be, and my fear is that we're accepting mediocrity," he said.

Adding to his concern was that while the All Blacks were so dominant they were not using rugby as the benchmark for their success.

"The All Blacks coaches aren't measuring themselves against the greatest rugby teams, they're looking at the greatest professional sporting teams in the world – Barcelona FC, Ferrari's F1 team…

"As an ex-Bok coach and a fan of South African rugby, it hurts to say that, the way we're heading, we're going to en up where we can't be a force in world rugby anymore," he said.

South African writer Rob Houwing said on sport.co.za: "If SA can somehow win in Christchurch under present circumstances, it might go down as one of their greatest upset triumphs of all time; at least that's some sort of motivation, although bookies are unlikely to be fooled as they assemble their forecasts.

"Confusion reigns supreme…these Boks look devoid of structure, clear-cut strategy, cutting edge and composure, and also just beginning to flirt with a potential post-isolation record low for tangible individual class and aura in the ranks."

South Africa will go into the Test without ace lock Lood de Jager who is out for two weeks with a severely bruised knee suffered in the Brisbane Test against Australia. Flanker Willem Alberts has been called in as his replacement.