JJ Harmse

Congrats on the job Jake

2011-04-28 08:59
Sport24 columnist JJ Harmse (File)
JJ Harmse

So Jake White finally landed a job he wanted. Not THE job, which would have been to coach the Springboks again in 2012, but according to the coach himself, a job that "excites him" and for which he feels a "natural fit".

Congratulations Jake. It was time for you to start coaching again and the Brumbies will be a better team for it.

One could dwell on possible reasons as to why White will succeed or fail at the Brumbies, but the proof will be in the pudding.

There can be no doubt that White has the ability to build teams and the Brumbies certainly need some rebuilding at this stage.

They will be losing Matt Giteau and Adam Ashley-Cooper for starters, and it will be interesting to see if White is able to lure a few South Africans to go and play for him.

He might have lost touch with the top flight players in the last couple of years, but his involvement in the academy structures could see a couple of 21 or 22-year-old's move along with him.

To me the "export" of White is sad in a different way.

Yes, we could have done with his expertise over here, but unfortunately he burned too many bridges on his way to the top and there were precious few who were prepared to work with him again after his 2007 glory, but the sad thing is that White is only one of a few South African coaches in demand abroad.

If you look at the number of New Zealand coaches earning their crust outside of their country, and compare that with the South Africans, it is a disgrace.


Because South African coaches seem to be so low in the pecking order in world rugby that we need to import rather than export that expertise.

We had guys like Nick Mallett, Alan Solomons and Steph Nel in the top European competitions, but that was about it.
Heyneke Meyer came back after personal problems and Pote Human coached with some success in Japan, but while we have around 200 players in Europe, we will battle to find a coach!

At the moment Franco Smith is about the only one in the top flight that I can think of.

Why is that?

Perhaps the lack of coaching structures within the national body? Affirmative action? An unwillingness of local coaches to spread their wings?

Our very well structured school system may be a reason for the last point. Some top rugby schools in the country are an ideal platform for some coaches to live their passion with some of the best talent in the country in a less pressured environment, but having kids myself, I know that those coaches actually have much more pressure from parents than Jake White will ever have from the Canberra Times!

We have seen the advantages of players going abroad and then coming back, using that knowledge back home. It would be great if the same thing can happen to our coaches.

With the talk about coaches, it seems a done deal that Rassie Erasmus will be helping the Springboks for the remainder of the year.
It seems that his role will pretty much be that of consultant and analyst and one can presume that he will look to take the lineouts and driving play to new heights.

I'm just wondering how Gary Gold and Victor Matfield would react to that. Gold is known as the technical brain among the coaching staff and of course, Matfield is regarded as the finest lineout analyst in the world.

This could still work out perfectly.

With Erasmus there, Gold could again become hands-on as a coach, not having to worry about the stats of the game and Matfield could certainly focus more on his defence, hitting rucks and stealing lineout balls.

To be fair to the Bulls captain, he is pretty much doing most of that already, but some of his team-mates seem reluctant to follow their leader!

Matfield and Erasmus will also have much more fun working together that Matfield had with White.

The poor relationship between those two was almost funny so tragic it was, but in the end it did not stop the Boks from winning the Rugby World Cup in 2007.
Matfield’s 100% lineout performance in the final also proved a point to his then coach.

Read JJ every Sunday in Rapport.

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