White: There is more at stake
Sydney - There is more at stake this weekend than competition points and Australian conference bragging rights.
The top two Australian teams, led by two men who want to
coach the Wallabies, play each other on a ground viewed by many as the
spiritual home of the gold jersey.
But while Jake White believes the teams that want to be
serious title contenders must win all their local derbies, the Brumbies
coach does not believe the same extends to the coaches.
White played down the attention trained on himself and his
Reds counterpart, Ewen McKenzie, this week, saying the outcome of
Saturday's clash was ''irrelevant'' to the discussion about who should
take over from Robbie Deans.
''This Saturday is irrelevant, there's a lot of rugby that can happen between now and the end of the competition,'' White said.
''If you lose this weekend you can still win the competition,
so does it mean that whoever wins gets the inside lane on any accolades
that come when you haven't won the competition? There's a lot of things
that could happen between now and the third of August [the Super Rugby
White was reluctant to talk about his coaching ambitions
beyond the Brumbies, to whom he is contracted until 2015, but reiterated
his interested in coaching again at Test level. The World Cup-winning
coach was identified by ARU boss Bill Pulver as one of three ''domestic
candidates'', alongside Deans and McKenzie on a shortlist to be the
Wallabies coach in 2014.
''At the end of the day I'm available to coach at a higher
level but I can only emphasise that's not until I'm finished doing my
job which is to coach these guys [the Brumbies] to where I want to get
them to and that's to the top,'' he said.
The most pressing challenge is Saturday night, when the
Brumbies face a Reds side that appears to be on the up after beating
2012 champions and then competition leaders the Chiefs last week.
The Brumbies are also coming off a win but the side has
endured a few recent wobbles, including a loss to the Stormers and a
draw with the Southern Kings.
White said it was important his players ''trust what we've set up''.
''People say we've had a shaky start but we've only lost one
game this year, that's the least by any team in the competition so
far,'' he said. ''And as much as we might have tossed away a win against
the Kings with 40 seconds to go that again just shows you've got to be
up for it.''