The appointment of Jake White, who guided South Africa to the 2007 Rugby World Cup, is somewhat of a coup for Toyota Verblitz, who ended the 2016-17 Top League campaign in a disappointing 8th place.
White has brought fellow South Africans Jason Jenkins, Lionel Cronje, Gio Aplon and Juan Smith to Toyota, also acquiring the services of hotly-tipped Japan scrum half Kaito Shigeno from NEC Green Rockets. Jenkins and Smith will compliment prop Ruan Smith as part of a formidable pack that saw Verblitz concede a league best two tries from scrums last season.
One issues that White will have had to attend to in pre-season will be Verblitz’s defence. Only relegated side Honda Heat (78%) had a lower success-rate in the tackle than Toyota Verblitz last season.
If White can ensure that the new faces gel with the existing members in the Verblitz squad, then expect them to pose a real challenge in the 2017-18 season.