White hits back at 'too SA' Montpellier claims

2016-10-13 07:06
Jake White (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Montpellier coach Jake White has hit back at those criticising him for luring too many South Africans to the French club.

After arriving at Montpellier at the end of 2014, White saved the club from relegation, then won the European Rugby Challenge Cup and reached the Top 14 semi-finals last season.

But he irked many by contracting several players from his home country.

At present, there are 14 South Africans on Montpellier's books, but White insisted that there were no local players to call on.

"That is more driven by the media. Every club would like a lot of French players but we didn't have a lot of French players coming through the ranks," White told BBC Sport.

"It wasn't through a lack of trying, and it wasn't because we purposefully tried to change the culture of the club.

"Every French player I asked to come to Montpellier was very reluctant because the club was always fighting for survival.

"We want to get more French players - good French players - but also make sure we are competitive.”

White also rejected the notion that he was adopting a conservative style of play.

"I get ring-fenced into a style of play, but we had the top try-scorer in the Top 14 last season (Fiji's Timoci Nagusa). It's just a perception out there about the style of play... it's pragmatic, it's about winning, and playing to your strengths.”

It was recently confirmed that the former Springbok coach will leave Montpellier after the 2016/17 European season, when he will be replaced by current Scotland coach Vern Cotter.

Read more on:    montpellier  |  jake white  |  rugby

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