Eddie: Jake will pass test
Cape Town – The Brumbies will rediscover their traditional way of playing under Jake White, but also acquire the discipline and physicality that were hallmarks of his Springbok teams.
That was the prediction from former Brumbies and Wallaby coach Eddie Jones following the announcement that White had signed a four-year contract to coach the Super Rugby team from Australia.
“Jake has always admired the Brumbies’ traditional way of playing. I believe he will add the Boks’ discipline and physicality to that,” said Jones.
White will nevertheless have to adapt to coaching an Australian side. South African teams tend to play with less possession, while the Aussies like to keep the ball through more phases.
“Everybody knows Jake is a very sharp guy. Australian teams tend to need more than 50% possession to win games, while South African teams can do it with 40% possession. Jake will grasp that and coach accordingly,” said Jones.
“He can help bring a work-rate to the Brumbies’ defence. It’s a new generation of Brumbies players coming through.”
Jones does not believe there will be problems between White and the Brumbies’ senior players.
“There will be more than enough opportunities for the players to provide their input and he will use them in the same way he tapped into Victor Matfield, Fourie du Preez and John Smit at the Springboks.
But there can only be one boss. Most good players understand that,” said Jones.
“The Brumbies have lost their vision of how they want to play and their values. They won the tournament previously because they were the team that worked the hardest – similar to the teams of the Bulls and Crusaders that achieved success.”
The Brumbies job is White’s first full-time coaching appointment since leading South Africa to success at the World Cup in 2007. He has worked mostly as a consultant since then.
“Jake is similar to George Gregan in Australia – he gets more respect from outside his own country,” said Jones.
“People either like or dislike Jake. He is one of the top coaches of the professional era in rugby to date.”