Durban – There is a growing possibility that former Springbok coach Jake White could be involved at the Sharks next year following his shock resignation from leading Australian team the Brumbies.
White took rugby Down Under by surprise on Wednesday by asking for a release from the Canberra-based team just two months after being the toast of Aussie rugby when he took his rebuilding side to the Super Rugby final, which was won by the Chiefs from New Zealand.
There was immediate conjecture over where White would find new employment and while there are strong rumours that he could take over at French club Clermont, Sharks chief executive John Smit on Wednesdau night did not rule out the possibility that his former coach at the Boks could move back to Durban.
White was the Sharks’ assistant coach in 2000 when Hugh Reece-Edwards was the head coach in what turned out to be a disastrous season for the Sharks. Both coaches moved on.
Smit said he had been surprised to hear that White had quit the Brumbies and that while formal negotiations had not begun with him, this could soon happen.
“I can’t comment on Jake leaving the Brumbies because I don’t have all the details as yet; all I can say is that we have a definite plan with the Sharks,” Smit said.
“Could Jake White add value to our plans if available? Without doubt he could. He has an amazing record and ability and we would welcome the opportunity to speak to him if it should arise,” he said.
It is understood that White’s disillusionment with Australian rugby arises from his failure to secure the position of Wallabies coach when former incumbent Robbie Deans, a New Zealander, was sacked after the team lost heavily to the British and Irish Lions in June.
White appeared to be next in line after the wonders he has worked at the Brumbies after just two seasons with the team, but the Australian Rugby Union decided to go with an Australian “who understands how the Wallabies should play”, according to a press release at the time, and Ewen McKenzie of the Queensland Reds got the job.
A release from the Brumbies said they had granted White a release from his four-year contract “because his heart is not in it”.
A number of Brumbies players are currently in Cape Town with the Wallabies squad ahead of Saturday’s clash with the Springboks and White, who has been on vacation in Cape Town since the Super Rugby final, on Wednesday met the Brumbies’ captain, Ben Mowen, and informed him of his decision.
Should White join the Sharks next year, it is uncertain what role he would play.