Jake White: Time was right to quit Sharks

2014-09-29 14:56

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Jake White has quit his position as director of rugby at the Sharks after less than a year, the Durban franchise has announced.

The former Springbok coach will be returning to Cape Town and also “freeing himself up for any international coaching and consulting opportunities” ahead of next year’s World Cup, according to a Sharks statement.

White, who led the team to the Super Rugby semifinals earlier this season, will step down with immediate effect, with the news coming almost exactly a year to the day since the story of his move to Kings Park first broke.

“The 2015 Rugby World Cup is just months away,” the statement said.

“Jake will also have the opportunity to move back to his home city of Cape Town, which will bring him closer to his family after a number of years away.”

White has made no secret of his desire to coach internationally again having led the Springboks to the 2007 world title during his spell in charge between 2004 and 2007.

He felt the time was right to leave Durban.

“I was offered an exciting challenge in a great rugby city,” White said of his time on the east coast.

“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.”

At his arrival press conference last October, former Bok captain, Smit, acknowledged that the 51-year-old could leave at any time, although this latest move seems slightly sudden.

“Jake and I have known each other a long time and were very frank in our discussions regarding this Sharks opportunity back in 2013,” Smit said.

“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.

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

White had been laying low since the conclusion of Super Rugby at the start of August, playing a more observatory role during the Currie Cup campaign, which has seen the Sharks being led by one of his assistants, Brad MacLeod-Henderson.

The Sharks believe he has played a big role over the past few months.

“Jake was also tasked to upskill the young coaches as well as tidy up all rugby structures across the board from our academy all the way to our senior team,” the statement continued.

“Initially it was thought this would take some time. However, being allowed to concentrate on these tasks during the Currie Cup has fast-tracked the process and we can happily say our Super Rugby squad is in place and our preseason plan ready to go.

“The mentoring role Jake has played to our coaches has been invaluable. He will be free to come back and continue the monitoring of his systems and where appropriate consult to the Sharks.”

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