Dominic Valentine

WP 'crazy' to snub White?

2013-10-01 14:03
Dominic Valentine (File)
Cape Town - Were Western Province 'crazy' to ignore former Springbok coach Jake White after he admitted to a desire to coach the team?

According to reports, White is set to coach the Sharks now, filling the vacant role left by the outgoing Brendan Venter. However, the former Bok and Brumbies coach has admitted that Western Province would have been his preferred choice.

Speaking to the Cape Times, White was clear about his preference, saying he wanted to be near his family.

"I live in Cape Town, my boys are in Cape Town at Bishops and I'd love to coach Western Province," White said.

Yet, bizarrely, news of the coach's desire to work with Western Province was met with a blunt message by the union that they were not interested.

"Jake White is not in our plans. We haven't spoken to him and there have definitely not been any meetings with him. We are not looking at Jake White at all," WP Rugby Union president Thelo Wakefield said.

WP CEO Rob Wagner also dismissed any notion of White joining the union.

"We are aware that top-class coaches and players will always be linked to jobs or opportunities at the Stormers or WP, but we have not had any talks or negotiations with Jake White," he said.

White is a Rugby World-Cup winning coach, he has been successful as a technical analyst for a Springbok team under Nick Mallett, as a coach at age-group level with the Baby Boks, at Test level with the Springboks, and more recently at Super Rugby level with a Brumbies team that reached the final of this year's competition.

White has achieved success at every level of the game in a variety of roles he has taken on in his career.

Bearing that wealth of experience in mind, it would be obtuse to not recognise the significant value he could add to any team he coaches or is involved with.

Do WP have the liberty of looking such a glaring gift horse in the mouth?

The Stormers team have been remarkably bereft of attacking flair in Super Rugby for the past couple of seasons, seemed to lack a Plan 'B' when it was most needed, and also made a bad habit of losing important matches they should have won (the 2012 Super Rugby semi-final at Newlands against the Sharks springs immediately to mind).

White's Brumbies, on the other hand, were defensively sound but fully capable of unleashing an attacking flare when they needed to - going to fortress Loftus for the semi-final and upsetting the Bulls in their own backyard, before nearly repeating the feat a week later in Hamilton against the Chiefs in the final.

In the two years White spent in Canberra he turned the team from wooden-spoon contenders into title contenders.

Many scribes have noted, based on the Stormers' Super Rugby form in 2013, that the team appears to have been on the wane since Rassie Erasmus vacated his role as Director of Rugby to take up a post as Director of Rugby for the Springboks, a vacancy which White could have stepped into seamlessly without disrupting the current coaching set-up and reconnecting with former colleague Allister Coetzee.

The appointment of White would have been the perfect opportunity to freshen up ideas at the Stormers and to fine-tune the WP engine.

It could be argued that White has been made a pariah in South Africa due to his strong opinions and his willingness to share them. After all, who can forget how he burned his bridges with SARU in his tell-all tome In Black and White?

But love him or hate him, no one can deny that he is anything less than a very highly competent, tactically astute, world class coach.

When White takes over the reins at the Sharks, I feel fairly certain WP will come to rue the day they overlooked him.

Dominic Valentine is the Multimedia Editor at Sport24 - and supports WP...

Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

Read more on:    wp  |  currie cup  |  super rugby  |  jake white  |  cape town  |  rugby


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