Sydney - Jake White should move on if he's not committed to the Brumbies
and his interest in England's top job could destabilise the club, former
player Jeremy Paul says.
On the eve of the Brumbies' Round 3 match against the
Cheetahs and just one game into a four-year contract, White on Thursday signalled his ambition to become England's next coach. But
it's understood the Brumbies players and coaching staff have been left
in limbo with White yet to address his team about his uncertain future.
White did not return calls from The Canberra Times on Thursday and it's unlikely he will discuss his position until after Saturday's match.
Paul, a former Brumbies and Wallabies hooker,
passionately jumped to the defence of the squad and said the ''debacle
could be potentially destructive for the Brumbies''.
''It's ridiculous, it's beyond destabilising … to hear in
the third round your coach is interested in going somewhere else, what
were the Brumbies - a stop-gap?'' Paul said.
''It throws everything out … you can't go and field an offer after six months on the job.
''It's not even about him leaving, it's about him wanting
to take an offer. If he jumps on a plane to go over there, he should
stay over there.
''He's got three-and-a-half years left on his contract
and all of a sudden we're in the position where we could have another
caretaker coach … if you want to completely wreck a place, this could do
The Brumbies' preparation for just their second Super
Rugby match under White was thrown into chaos on Thursday when the club
was forced to react to ongoing speculation about White because of a
story broken by The Canberra Times. Instead of focusing on
securing a second consecutive victory, all the attention is on White.
was absent from his scheduled press conference on Thursday to announce
his team to play the Cheetahs, leaving captain Ben Mowen to front the
''Jake can make the decisions for himself but, as far as I
know, he's here for four years,'' Mowen said. ''That's where we're at -
Jake's here and we'll see what eventuates.''
Prop Ben Alexander said White had addressed the players
when he was previously linked to the South African coaching role
expected the coach would speak to them on Friday.
In his six months in Canberra, White has overhauled the
playing roster and facilities at the club's Griffith headquarters to try
to turn around the worst season in the Brumbies' history.
Former captain Stephen Hoiles - who left the Brumbies
last November due to a chronic Achilles problem - said White's possible
departure was a devastating blow for the club. Hoiles was skipper when
Andy Friend was axed in March last year.
Hoiles said White had demonstrated double standards by
forcing Brumbies players to play club rugby in Canberra but wavering in
his own commitment to the capital. ''You can't tell players they have to
stay in Canberra and play club rugby in Canberra and then have this
happen, it's a double standard,'' Hoiles said.
''I feel sorry for the fans and for the players … they don't need to go through something like this again.
''The Brumbies have the most inexperienced squad in a long time and I'd be surprised if this wasn't a distraction for them.''
Paul feared White's possible departure would harm the Brumbies' ability to recruit and retain players.
''When players choose between the five [Australian] teams they want to go somewhere they can be coached,'' Paul said.
''Jake lures players and he was here for four years to attract players, now who knows if that will happen.''