Jake White has made no secret of the fact that he would jump at the opportunity to take charge of Australia’s national team.
White, speaking to The Australian newspaper, added further fuel to the constant speculation over the position of Wallaby coach Robbie Deans when he stated that it is a “dream” of his to one day lead Australia’s national team.
The 2007 World Cup-winner, White, who was inducted into the IRB’s Hall of Fame last year, is busy in the midst of Super Rugby pre-season preparations with the Brumbies.
However, his success in his first year in charge of the Canberra-based outfit, where he took them to within a bonus point of an unlikely play-off spot, again reminded the main rile players in Australia of his coaching pedigree.
White, a two-time IRB coach of the year, arrived in Canberra after a four-year hiatus from full-time coaching – when he was unceremoniously dumped by the South African Rugby Union after he guided the Springboks to success in France in 2007
Speaking to The Australian, White made it clear he still held ambitions to return to coaching at the highest level.
“It was a very conscious choice I made to come and coach at the Brumbies,” White told the newspaper.
“They have always been regarded as an organisation who pushed the boundaries and were at the forefront of innovation in world rugby,” he added.
“After I finished with the Springboks, I knew I wanted to get back into coaching, but I needed to wait for the right job, a job which would be mutually beneficial. As a coach, you need to be growing and learning every day, particularly if you have a desire to coach at international level, which I most certainly do.
“That passion has not died in me. It is the ultimate test and I believe I have a great deal to offer as an international coach.
“Obviously my focus is here with the Brumbies. I am not someone who ever looks too far ahead. I know how quickly things can change. But you ask would I like to coach the Wallabies. Of course that is a dream job. They are one of the premier rugby teams in the world and I would love the opportunity to be a part of the Wallabies set-up.”
White has the support of Brumbies skipper Ben Mowen, who compared the sharp-tongued South African to Rugby League super coach Wayne Bennett.
“He just seems to know the right buttons to push,” Mowen told The Australian.
“He has a relationship with each player that is unique and coaches like that are the sort of blokes you want to play for.
“I know they say Wayne Bennett has a similar rapport with his players. The other thing Jake does is surround himself with good people.”
Speak to anyone within the Brumbies organisation and very little time will pass without the mention of the work of White’s right-hand men, assistant Lawrie Fisher and performance director Dean Benton.
“They are two guys with very strong opinions on how things should be done,” White said.
“I have said before I could have employed guys I knew; ‘yes’ men who just do what they are told. Instead I employed Dean and Lawrie. They certainly don’t fall within that category.
“If something needs to be said, they aren’t afraid to say it. Sometimes even when things don’t need to be said, they will say it.”
For his part, Fisher was happy to endorse White’s credentials, though with a caveat.
“Look, you only have to look at Jake’s track record to know he would be an outstanding appointment,” Fisher said.
“Jake’s great strength is his ability to sell a message and get everyone pulling in the same direction.
“When you have that, it is a very powerful thing.
“The only thing for me is, I suppose I am a little bit old-school where I would like to see the job go to an Aussie, but that’s just me.”