Jake’s Sharks shock

2014-09-30 00:00

THE rugby world was shell-shocked yesterday after the Sharks announced that Jake White had stepped down from his post as director of rugby in Durban.

White joined the Sharks at the end of 2013 after former Springbok captain John Smit had become CEO of the franchise, but has now quit less than a year into what was a three-year contract.

A statement released by the Sharks yesterday suggested that the prospect of coaching at next year’s Rugby World Cup in England had been a contributing factor in his decision to step down.

White would now be returning to Cape Town to be closer to his family.

The Sharks have maintained that the decision was amicable.

“Jake was excited to implement change as well as be involved with South Africa’s most talented squad, but from the outset stated his ambition to be on the international stage again and I was all too happy to have him for however long we could,” Smit said in a statement.

White’s role at the Sharks saw him spearhead the development of younger coaches and he also helped transform rugby structures from an academy level through to club rugby and Sharks age-group and senior sides.

“What he has achieved for us in such a short time is incredible and our staff and players have learned a huge amount,” added Smit.

White had guided the Sharks to a semi-final place in this season’s Super Rugby competition a year after guiding the Brumbies to a tournament final.

In the last eight weeks, he has been preparing for next year’s Super Rugby season and has developed a pre-season plan that will be implemented after his departure. Brad Macleod-Henderson took over the role of head coach for the Currie Cup this term and his side are third on the log with two games left to play before the semi-finals.

The team looked settled at a training session at King’s Park yesterday despite the news breaking a few hours before. White said that he was happy with what he had achieved in the year that he had been at the Sharks.

“I was offered an exciting challenge in a great rugby city. I believe we put together some excellent structures under new chief executive John Smit, who was always supportive. I’m closing this chapter in my life as I believe it is the right time to do so. I want to thank and acknowledge The Sharks for my time spent with the team,” he said in a statement.

The Sharks will announce a coach for the 2015 Super Rugby season at a later date.

V John Smit

“What he has achieved for us in such a short time is incredible and our staff and players have learned a huge amount.”

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