By Alan Dymock
Shock caught most of the Brumbies fans when Jake White finally pulled out of the Super Rugby franchise. He had two years left on his current contract and had recently overseen contract extensions for players who wanted to continue working with the successful South African, but something drove him out of town.
Despite rejuvenating the franchise, pushing them to a Super Rugby grand final and a victory over the British and Irish Lions in the last season, the coach has found his position untenable. As ever, word of mouth sends rumours fluttering out about why he would take such a decision. Chiefly amongst them are the social issues: he wants to spend more time with his sons back in South Africa, and the professional issues: he has been misled over a step up to coach the Wallabies and possibly disrespected by ARU officials.
The World Cup winning coach certainly has plenty of weight in the international arena, having previously been linked to England, Australia and a return to the Springboks since he left that role in 2007 when he led the team to World Cup triumph.
In stepping away from his role with the Brumbies it will be suggested that White is in the hunt for another international job – it is a running joke that White will interview for any major post going, but it is being suggested that Argentina and White are a match made in heaven as we chunter towards the 2015 World Cup.
Undoubtedly, White wants to coach at international level again at some point. However, reports were circulating in South Africa as soon as the news broke that there was a nice easy fit for White at the Sharks franchise and only today CEO in Durban John Smit, who captained the Boks during that victorious World Cup under White, said: “Here at the Sharks we have a definite plan for our team. Could Jake White add value? Of course he can.
“He [White] is a very successful coach with an amazing track record. We would welcome an opportunity to engage with him, should it so arise.”
With the Stormers apparently sniffing around as well a lot will come down to which mindset White really has: does he want to spend more time with the kids in South Africa, or is it international ambition that has forced him to walk?