White ‘open’ to England job


Jake White, who coached South Africa to 2007 World Cup success, dropped a hint on Sunday that he would welcome an approach to succeed Martin Johnson as England coach.


The Rugby Football Union are searching for a successor to Johnson, who stepped down 11 days ago in response to England’s dismal 2011 World Cup campaign in New Zealand.

White is one of the leading candidates to replace Johnson and the 48-year-old South African has left little doubt over his interest in the position.

“You miss the highest level of competition,” White told BBC Radio 5 live’s Sportsweek programme.

“During the World Cup there were times when I thought it would be wonderful to be back on this stage.

“I’m sure that if an opportunity came about, it’s something I’d like to do again.

“I don’t know how I’d react if I was called by the RFU, one never knows until you are in that situation.

“All coaches want to test themselves against the best and when you’ve won one World Cup, you’d like to win a second.

“It would be a fantastic achievement to become the first coach to win two World Cups.

“I’m young enough and there’s a long time ahead in my career. I’d love to get another chance of testing myself at the World Cup.

“To win it twice would be a real dream come true.”

White would be happy to work alongside Clive Woodward, the mastermind of England’s 2003 World Cup triumph who has been linked with a return to Twickenham in a director of elite rugby role.

“I’ve chatted to Clive about coaching together,” he said.

“He’s a very proud man who’s been through the highs and lows with England and took them to the World Cup.

“I say this not because Clive is my friend, but it’s amazing how a guy like him hasn’t stayed in rugby when he’s achieved the ultimate in winning the World Cup with England.”

White believes “sleeping giants” England need someone with a proven track record of success to steer them out of the doldrums.

“They have to get a winner, someone who’s been there and done it, someone who understands what it takes to win something special,” he said.

“They must get back to where they were when they were the dominant force in rugby.

“They do that by getting someone who the players respect for that he’s been there, done it.

“England are a sleeping giant. Whoever gets that job right can have a very successful time with a very powerful rugby nation.”

One obstacle to White’s arrival at Twickenham is the four-year contract he recently signed with Australian Super Rugby side the Brumbies – the first coaching position he has filled since 2007.

“I’m very happy at the Brumbies. I’ve committed myself to them and in the long run it will make me a better rugby coach,” he said.

“My Brumbies bosses have been very good to me and want me to take the team to another level.

“They have backed me and it’s only right that I would back them in times when they might think I’d let them down.”

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  1. Klink my hy is ‘n trekvoël – nes sommige politici
    wat kort-kort in ‘n ander party opduik.

    Waar is sy lojaliteit teenoor die Brumbies dan?
    Hoe gaan hy loskom van sy kontrak?

  2. He would have thought this through
    before signing for the Brumbies.

    He is a man by trade
    with sufficient capability in strategy.
    He saw it coming.

    I’m sure he has got that covered.

  3. Former South Africa head coach Jake White has distanced himself from the vacant England manager’s job.

    Martin Johnson quit the role following England’s shambolic World Cup campaign, which was beset with problems both on and off the field of play.

    White, who led the Springboks to World Cup glory in 2007, did not rule out a return to international rugby.

    However, he said he was “very happy” at Super 15 side the Brumbies, with whom he started working in July.

    “It would be wonderful to be back on the world stage… but I’ve committed myself to [the Brumbies],” White told BBC 5 live’s Sportsweek.

    “It’s something I’d like to aspire to again. All coaches want to coach at the highest level, they want to judge themselves against the best in the world and I suppose when you’ve won a World Cup you’d like to win two World Cups and be the first coach to do that.

    “At this moment in time I’m enjoying the fact I’ve got a new challenge. My Brumbies bosses have been very good to me, they want me to take their team to another level.

    “They’ve had a disastrous couple of seasons and they want to get up to the top of the ladder again. They’ve backed me and I suppose it’s only right I back them in times when they would probably think I’d let them down.”

    Despite White’s comments, only last month he admitted he would like his old job back with South Africa following the resignation of Peter de Villiers, saying: “Whenever the job officially becomes available, I’ll definitely put my CV in.”

    White added that he would be interested in working with Clive Woodward, who led England to the 2003 World Cup and is fancied to take over as England supremo when his role with the British Olympic Association ends after London 2012.

    “I’ve chatted to Clive about working together, not just with England,” said the 48-year-old White, who coached South Africa between 2004-07.

    “When he left England he came to see me and said he’d love to stay in rugby and bounce ideas off me and stay in the game.

    “And he’s been there, done it – coached England, been through the highs and lows, and ended up taking them to a World Cup. It’s amazing how a guy like him hasn’t stayed in rugby.”

    However, White said the Rugby Football Union would be making a mistake if they appointed an interim manager.

    “A caretaker coach is probably the soft option because that means you’ve got no confidence in the guy who’s caretaker coach,” said White.

    “The players need to know who’s in charge from now on, he’s going to be the person who’s controlling the destiny of where those players are going to be in four years time.

    “So the quicker they can make the decision and get the best people involved, the more direction and cohesion you’re going to give the players.”

    Meanwhile, former Lions prop Fran Cotton has thrown his weight behind Nick Mallett to become the next England coach.

    Cotton believes Mallett has the right credentials and would work well with Northampton’s Jim Mallinder and Dorian West, who he argued could take over at a later date.

    “I’m a huge fan of Nick Mallett, who has been a hugely successful coach,” he told Sportsweek.

    “Nick has coached successfully with South Africa and Stade Francais and did a great job with Italy, which wasn’t an easy job. Nick has the strength of personality to do the job.

    “But if we do appoint an overseas guy, then we also need to develop some of our own alongside him.

    “To me the perfect triumvirate would be Mallett working together with Jim Mallinder and Dorian West. The aim would be for Mallinder and West to take over after the 2015 World

  4. Nick Mallet

    Suddenly the man very much in place. He is about to arrive in England to coach the southern hemisphere in the Heroes match at Twickenham and has already had plenty to say about not fancying the job if Rob Andrew is still around. Great CV. Coached South Africa to a 17-game winning run – still a record. Twice took Stade Français to the French championship after a relatively short time coaching. Had mixed results with Italy, but he is credited with changing the Italians to regional rugby and they did beat France in the last Six Nations. Downside: Twickenham might think twice about a man who so clearly knows his own mind.

    Sir Clive Woodward

    No so long ago it looked as though the powers in the land were paving the way for England’s white knight to return in the hope of putting English rugby back where he left it in 2003. Alas, most of his support has vanished with the departures that have followed the politicking at Twickenham and Sir Clive’s most recent words were that he was sticking with his Olympics job. However, if he is promised total control you never know, although it is hard to seen Woodward and Andrew getting on.

    Jim Mallinder

    Northampton’s head man and the architect behind their rise from division one to within touching distance of last season’s Heineken Cup. Made to sound like a candidate after being boxed into a corner by some clever questioning recently, but may be too soon in a career that suggests he might be a better coach than the top dog. Especially in a team that – ask Andy Robinson and Brian Ashton – has to fight as many battles off the field as on it. Some would say he is too nice a guy.

    Warren Gatland

    England have lost Shaun Edwards (again) to a bit of Welsh rapid response, so why not run a poaching expedition of their own? Gatland had many fans in his home country, New Zealand, at the end of the World Cup, but has not been approached for the All Black job and the Welsh Rugby Union believes it has him under lock and key, having rushed through a contract extension. Nevertheless, Gatland’s ability to win a grand slam first time up and then build a young team in his own image, will not have been lost on the richest union in the world.

    Graham Henry

    An off-the-peg World Cup winner. Henry had a bit of fun recently at Twickenham’s expense, saying he wouldn’t mind “helping out”, but a golden retirement plus a nice little job with the New Zealand Rugby Union would seem more to his liking. That said, he does know the patch, having run Wales – remember the Great Redeemer – and his sidekick, Wayne Smith, once of Northampton, is also available for a short gig. In extremis.

    Jake White

    Has offered to do the job often enough, but then again he has said the same about most vacancies around the globe. The 2007 winner with South Africa might have been a candidate when he was so badly treated in his own land and elbowed aside after handing over the William Ellis Cup. He had built the Springboks – many of them through age group rugby – and proved a good enough diplomat to survive the era of “transition” and its quotas. However, his most recent offer to “take over” from Peter de Villiers ahead of the World Cup in New Zealand won him few friends.