Sydney - Former Springboks Rugby World Cup-winning coach Jake White has suddenly
discovered why Australian teams have only occasionally won the Super
Rugby tournament. It adds up to a shortage of numbers and an uneven
White, who has taken over at the Brumbies, said
on Thursday that it was more difficult for Australian teams to win the
title because of player restrictions.
''It is so much tougher for the Australian teams because
there is a salary cap and you can only have 30 players,'' White said.
''There is no academy - so there's no junior age groups you can pull
players from. So you really can't underestimate what Ewen McKenzie did
with the Reds last year - for an Australian team to win the title was a
''The main difficulty I am having is when you don't have
an academy and you don't have an under-21 side it makes it tough to have
the required depth. [South African] teams, like the Bulls and Sharks,
can draw in under-21 players, while New Zealand teams can draw in
players from their provincial competition.
''The Blues can drag in players from North Harbour, the
Chiefs can get players from Taranaki and so on. And in South Africa,
they can bring in players from other areas. But here it is different.
That is the difficulty of coaching an Australian franchise team. You are
playing in the competition involving 15 teams and five teams have
restrictions the other 10 don't have.''
At least White is happy he will be able to field a team.
While the Brumbies have lost a tribe of Wallabies including Rocky Elsom,
Adam Ashley-Cooper, Matt Giteau and Stephen Hoiles, White argues they
are still better off than some other provinces.
When asked if he had a lot of talent to choose from,
White said: ''We are as good as we can be in that framework … At this
point in time, the Brumbies have a lot of positives other teams don't
have. I have 32 guys fit and ready to play, whereas other franchises
have a lot of injuries. As much as the squad is inexperienced and new,
there are bonuses.''
Who will be the Brumbies captain remains a mystery.
''I've just joined them, I don't really know the players
and haven't seen them play. So it would be unfair for me to immediately
announce a captain,'' White said.
''There are a lot of guys there who have leadership
potential but the most important thing is that I'm looking for a captain
who complements me and brings the best out in the group.''