Super Rugby

Jake White believes perceptions of him don’t tell the whole story

Jake White (Gallo Images)
Jake White (Gallo Images)

Former Springbok coach and new Vodacom Bulls coach Jake White opens up in the second of three wide-ranging interviews.

PART 1 | Schoolboy rugby is the heart of Springbok rugby, says White

White has accepted that there are certain perceptions about him. But the former Springbok coach says the biggest misconception people have about him is actually borne from his biggest frustration.

“The misconception people have about me, is that I’m this hard-headed kind of schoolmaster type - I think that perception is maybe a defence mechanism in me,” White said as he prepares for the next phase in his rugby coaching career at the helm of the Bulls.

“I’m so driven that I would like to do well, and I know I get frustrated. But the one thing I cannot accept is when people have been given opportunities and they don’t see them. A lot of people have said that everybody gets opportunities in life, but some see them and others don’t. So when I maybe come across as this schoolmaster or tough individual, I think it’s just a sense of frustration that I cannot get people to see how fortunate or privileged they are for the things that are happening around them.”

Throughout his decorated coaching career, White has accepted the perceptions of him, even if he feels they aren’t always a true reflection of his intentions.

“That is what is always disappointing, and you would like that perception to change.”

But White is adamant that none of this detracts from the immense gratitude he feels every day to be doing what he loves in a game he loves.

“I think anyone in the world of sport has regrets. You have the things you would’ve liked to have changed. I’ve often thought about this. People would say that some coaches are great tacticians and other coaches are great man managers or good motivators. As a coach, you would like to believe that you are all of these. But you can’t be.

“You learn and realise that you are so privileged to be doing what you do that you cannot regret what you haven’t done. I think you have to be very thankful about the things you have got and have achieved. I’m very mindful that the things I’ve been given in my life through rugby and have been privileged to experience, far supersedes any regrets I may have.

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