Will Jake be Sharks’ great White?

2013-09-29 14:00

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Former Springbok coach Jake White’s next rugby job is still in the balance and he has declined to reveal which team, or teams, he is talking to.

White sent shock waves rippling through the Australian Capital Territory last week when he resigned as head coach of the Canberra-based Brumbies.

The man who led the Springboks to their second victory in the Rugby World Cup in France in 2007, had been immensely successful with the Brumbies.

He took the team from their lowest ebb in 2011 to playing in this year’s Super Rugby final (in which they lost to the Chiefs), and his resignation took the Australian franchise by surprise.

White was in South Africa at his home in Hermanus, Western Cape, when the news broke and he was immediately linked to any number of potential new positions – from Stellenbosch University to French club Clermont Auvergne, the Argentina national team and

the Sharks – with a move to KwaZulu-Natal topping the betting because of his long-standing relationship with former Bok hooker and captain, and now Sharks chief executive, John Smit.

But when called yesterday, White, who has made no secret of the fact that he would like to return to coaching a national team and that he still has an ambition to one day return to the Springboks, said he was not in a position to reveal his future plans as he and his agent Craig Livingstone were “still in discussions” with the Australian Rugby Union and the Brumbies about the details of his release.

The Brumbies, although dismayed, readily agreed to White’s departure.

But the fact that negotiations were ongoing would suggest some truth in speculation that the team have insisted on a clause that White may not join another Super Rugby team in the two-year period that his contract with them still had to run.

White said: “I really can’t talk about it. Until we reach a release agreement that suits all parties.”

In Australia, it has been speculated that White decided to return to South Africa because he was upset at being overlooked as head coach of the Wallabies when Ewen McKenzie was recently appointed to take over from Robbie Deans.

White believed he had been promised the Australian job.

He has stated that his prime motivation for returning home is to be closer to his two sons.

If that is the case, it would point to him joining up with a South African team.

Smit has been quoted as saying the door is open for White to link up with the Sharks.

“Could Jake White add value? Of course he can. He is a very successful coach with an amazing track record,” said Smit.

“We would welcome an opportunity to engage with him, should it so arise.”

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