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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 July 2006, 08:28 GMT 09:28 UK
White sees hope despite thrashing
South Africa coach Jake White
White criticised the display of match referee Paul Honiss
South Africa coach Jake White hopes his side's 49-0 mauling by Australia will prove to be a blessing in disguise.

"England came here and lost by 76 points with a team they were sort of putting together, and they ended up winning the World Cup," said White.

But he admitted: "This really was a poor performance by all the players. Australia played well but I thought we would have been more competitive."

South Africa have 12 months to improve before next year's World Cup in France.


They were outplayed in Brisbane as they got their Tri-Nations campaign off to the worst possible start, missing a host of tackles and conceded numerous penalties on the way to a record defeat against the Wallabies.

"We executed poorly and got our defensive alignment wrong," said White, who rued his squad's lack of strength in depth.

Centre Jean de Villiers, fly-half Andre Pretorius, flanker Schalk Burger and lock Bakkies Botha all missed the defeat.

To make matters worse, lock Danie Rossouw is expected to be out for up to eight weeks with a torn hamstring.

It's the first game since I've ever been the coach that we got hit so many times from all sides from our defensive pattern

Jake White

"It's the first game since I've ever been the coach that we got hit so many times from all sides from our defensive pattern," added White.

"Either we've got to change it or we've got to look at ways we can defend a lot better."

White was also unhappy with the way that referee Paul Honiss constantly penalised his side's rush defence, claiming that Australia "got away with murder at the breakdown".

But Honiss dismissed White's criticisms, claiming that he was being made a "scapegoat" for South Africa's performance.

"If they're going to point the finger at me then they're obviously not focusing on the right things for next week," said the New Zealand referee.

South Africa have the chance to make amends when they face New Zealand in Wellington next week.

But White warned: "If we go in with the attitude that we can't, then it's going to become even darker for us."

New Zealand began their Tri-Nations campaign with a thumping 32-12 defeat of Australia in Christchurch.

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