White's wish

2007-10-24 13:54

Chris Hewitt

Jake White has won the Rugby World Cup and feels he should win an unconditional vote of confidence from his employers. Judging by the nationwide euphoria, few think differently.

The next few weeks will determine whether White is granted his wish, and there is uncertainty whether he will get the extension he desires.

What is not uncertain is his intention. Contrary to many reports, in his mind White is not done with Bok rugby.

Speaking to White in his Paris hotel room following the Bok's first demolition of England at the World Cup, he revealed his desire to build on the squad he believes has yet to peak in international rugby.

He spoke of the folly of changing teams according to four year cycles, and questioned why it was necessary to dismantle a machine that is the envy of the rugby playing world.

He spoke of the challenge of international rugby, how that challenge will always engage his head, but how that challenge could only ever fully engage the heart if the blazer that covers it remains green.

Impossible

There is one condition: that he remains empowered to pick the side as he sees fit, without dictation, and without the shadowy menace of political interference.

Should White and the Boks part company following the end-of-year encounters with Wales and the Barbarians, see through the spin. Know that he wanted to stay, know that he was given an offer that made it impossible.

It will have nothing to do with money and nothing to do with new opportunities.

It is a reflection of the complexity of the game in this country that not even its premier prize can guarantee what should be a reflex reward for a job well done.

From a pure rugby perspective, it is clear that the continuity that White will provide is the ideal antidote to a prospective post-World Cup slump.

It is the right rugby decision, but those who will make it seldom do much for purely that reason.

Complex argument

The Presidents' Council will convene in the next week to discuss the future Bok coach. They will hear submissions by a committee, headed by Mike Stofile, before deciding on a candidate.

There is no need for a complex argument. There is nothing complicated about this column because seldom should a decision be so simple.

On Saturday the nation expected and White delivered. Next week the nation again expects.

You will do well to remember a side that never looked like losing throughout the 44-day event that defines their sport.

You will do well to remember the reaction at OR Tambo International Airport when the squad returned with the trophy whose history is interwoven with this nation's more than any other.

You will do well to realise that the right call is the easy one.

Jake still wants the job. Let him do it.

  • Chris is Chief Rugby Writer at Sports Illustrated and a former SAB Rookie Sports Journalist of the Year.

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