Sydney - ARU boss Bill Pulver said Jake White's perceived defensive style and
the preference for an Australian at the helm were factors in the
Brumbies coach being overlooked for the Wallabies position.
According to the smh.com.au website, Pulver met Brumbies players in Canberra on Wednesday, but he
did not to talk to White, just a day after announcing Ewen McKenzie had
been appointed the Wallabies successor to Robbie Deans. It's understood
the pair have not yet had the chance to speak about why McKenzie was
preferred over the 2007 World-Cup winning South African coach.
Pulver, however, said McKenzie had impressed the selection
panel with his vision to ''coach the Australian way'', a reference to
playing attractive and attacking football. The statistics don't tell the
The Brumbies have beaten McKenzie's Reds in the
try-scoring tally for the past two Super Rugby seasons, including a huge
11-try gap between the teams this year.
''Both were world-class options, Jake's case was very
compelling … he has an outstanding coaching record,'' Pulver said. ''I
just think there has probably been a little bit more creativity inside
Ewen's programs. He's very vocal in saying 'winning is not enough'.
You've got to win in a way that excites and captures the hearts and
minds of the rugby community. I agree (with McKenzie). At this point in
time I'd say Ewen (compared with White) has the strongest point in that
particular area … One of the things Ewen came out strongly on was the
ability to coach the Australian way.''
Pulver denied the ARU had only been interested in appointing
an Australian in the top job after New Zealander Robbie Deans - the
Wallabies' first foreign coach - was axed with six months left on his
Pulver said the preference was to ''find the best coach'',
adding: ''But when you've got two coaches of such a similar standard,
there is clearly some advantage in being Australian.''
The ARU sounded out White in February before the start of the season about his interest in being the next Wallabies coach.
The Brumbies coach was invited to a secret job interview in Melbourne two weeks ago.