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Rugby | Vodacom Super Rugby

White expects hostile reception



Former Springbok coach Jake White is expecting a hostile reception in South Africa this week, as he feels South Africans will gang up on him this week to try and disrupt the Brumbies ahead of their clash against the Vodacom Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

White was warning his Brumby players to expect an onslaught when they arrive in Johannesburg for their two tests on the Highveld, saying he expected all sorts of underhanded tactics to target him while in South Africa.

''Let me warn you it's going to be massive, they're going to go for me I'm going to tell you right now,'' White was reported to tell his players, according to Rugbyheaven. ''They're going to try and unsettle the squad by having some sort of dig at me, whether it's that I've deserted them … I don't really know what they'll try and do.

''But they'll use whatever they can, not only to bring more people to the stadium but also to promote the game and to harp up the whole thing,'' he said.

White sees the tour -- with only a handful of players having played in South Africa -- as the team’s biggest test at the moment, and said he was happy it came after their win against the Rebels.

''That's why I'm so glad this win [against Melbourne] comes now, because it helps me explain to the players what's coming,'' White said. ''What I will do in our team meetings is just pre-warn them about what's coming, so they're not overawed.

''But I will also explain the positives. The reality is they're going to a rugby nation now who love their rugby, and will do everything they can to make sure they put the opposition under fire.

''Nothing untoward, nothing illegal, they just love their rugby, they want to win and will put pressure wherever they can. It's something we have to handle, and that's the uniqueness of going back to South Africa, as a South African coach, with a team that doesn't understand it.''

White reiterated that he didn’t see South Africa as his home, but rather Australia.

''I'm going back to where I was born and where I coached, but my home now is Canberra … . I don't want them to think, as in the players, that I'm going home. My home is now here.''

''Playing the Bulls at Loftus, they'll be saying to themselves they want to beat the Brumbies and be top of the log [South African conference] this time next week, so it's massive for us.

''But this is what you play rugby for, you play rugby to play in front of 40 000 people in stadiums that were built for rugby union. That's why we play the game, to contest ourselves against that sort of opposition.''

The World Cup-winning coach will coach a side for the first time in South Africa in an official capacity since he won the World Cup in 2007.

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