Update: Jake White rejects chance to coach England

UPDATE: Jake White has confirmed his morning that he will not be the next England coach, deciding to stay with the Brumbies. White tweeted that:

“Always hard turning down a chance to win a world cup, but rugby is about making the right decisions and that’s to stay with @BrumbiesRugby”

It means that Nick Mallett, Stuart Lancaster and Eddie O’Sullivan are the only names remaining on the shortlist.

After yesterday’s intense media speculation regarding the future of Jake White and the England Head Coach position, the Brumbies and Australian Rugby released the following statement overnight:

Further to recent media speculation, Brumbies Head Coach, Jake White, today advised Brumbies Rugby Chief Executive Andrew Fagan that he has been sounded out by the RFU (England) as a candidate for its vacant coaching role and has declared interest in exploring his options.

Despite speculation that Jake has already been interviewed and offered the position, he has assured Brumbies Rugby that is not the case. Jake has also provided assurances that regardless of the eventual decision made by the RFU, he will remain in Canberra with the Brumbies for the rest of the 2012 Super Rugby season.

Fagan was complimentary of Jake’s work over the last eight months and was aware of the possibilities a job like England Head Coach would present, particularly considering the next Rugby World Cup final will be played at Twickenham. But the Brumbies boss was naturally disappointed with the disruption this sort of speculation causes, given Jake is contacted to the club until the end of the 2015 Super Rugby season.

“Obviously this is a terrific opportunity for Jake White, and one which reflects his status as one of the world’s leading coaches,” Fagan said.

“It also speaks volumes about the quality of the Rugby program that Jake is putting in place here at the Brumbies that he should be sounded out for this role. That said, Jake is in the first of a four year contract with the Brumbies, and there are many details that would need to be worked through should he be successful with his application.”

Brumbies Rugby and Jake White will not be providing any further comment at this time.

In comparison with the other candidates on the shortlist, which includes Nick Mallett, Stuart Lancaster and Eddie O’Sullivan, White would be the standout name after his Rugby World Cup success. Would you be happy to see him in charge?

20 thoughts on “Update: Jake White rejects chance to coach England

  1. Personally I’ve never been that impressed with White. His overall record with SA was patchy (he was almost fired in 2006) and it only really turned around when Jones came on board. He also had the easiest route to a World cup final there has ever been, avoiding NZ, Aus and France.

  2. This is gonna sound deeply hypocritical coming from a Wales supporter but I think the coach should have to qualify for the country in the same way as the players and as such I think Lancaster is the answer. There needs to be a bit of national pride in the job. In the same way I think using a welshman after gatland is the way to go.

    1. Can we have Shaun Edwards back then please? This change would be a disaster for NZ as they would no longer be able to send future All Black coaches to Wales to practice :-)

      I think Nick Mallett was born in England so we don’t need a genealogist to check out grandparents or anything, he qualifies!

      If only we ( the UK ) were the leading rugby intellectuals driving the game forwards and exporting our coaches round the world. Hopefully one day the best coaches will be home grown, for now Im happy for the RFU to use the one competetive advantage we have over the rest of the world to secure the best …. money

  3. I disagree with you Ben. I’d rather have Nick Mallett I think. I agree with Benjit that the Boks weren’t up to much in the years preceding 2007, and that RWC win put a heavy gloss on his record.

    The Bergamasco fiasco still nags at me when I consider Mallett’s credentials, but other than that I’ve always been quite impressed with his style.

    Lancaster is doing a decent job, but doesn’t stand a chance if John Kirwan is too inexperienced – particularly if England come 4th in the Six Nations.

  4. As player, I got Coached by White in 2002 for SA21’s and he is Great coach and England Rugby would definately improve with someone of his knowledge. Sorry to disagree with some of you, but He will definately play to englands strenghts!!

  5. I really don’t think Jake White is the outstanding candidate for the job. SA won the 2007 world cup almost be default. Their team were led tactically by Smit, Du Preez and Matfield. White himself was almost sacked a year prior to the world cup. The one thing I would say he had going for him during his tenure was that he had previously coached the South Africa U21 side and therefore he knew most of the players already before he go into manging the National side. So if that is one of the reason for his success, why not stick with Lancaster who has had the same influence with the Saxons?? http://dumptackle.blogspot.com/2012/02/contenders-for-england-job.html

  6. @Roux – It is really interesting to get the point of view who has actually been coached by White himself. Do you not think it may be a retrograde step to play in the style most of White’s teams have played in, given that we no longer have a forward pack to dominate on the international scene, unlike South Africa?

  7. @ Philip – Interesting view that you might think he could be taking step back. I agree with you that it will be a test for him not to have a Star studded pack who dominate.

    1 thing I can assure you about Jake is that he thinks “out of the box” a lot! So he will structure his plan around where England currently have strength, and really emphasize neutralizing opposition strengths. (should be every coaches job to do so anyway)

    Another point that people forget about is that between him finishing with the Springboks 2007 and joining the Brumbies he has been actively running coaching clinics around the world with none other than Eddie Jones. Developing himself as a coach even more.

    Should he get the job, he will definitely bring some excitement back, whether it takes him a season to get his structures nailed down after assessing where he should concentrate on. I like Lancaster, But Jake’s presence will definately bring something else to the table…

  8. @Roux. Thanks for the Reply. It sounds like you have a lot of faith in his coaching skills. I guess we don’t know where the RFU will go with their decision. If they do decide to go with White..would be interesting to see if someone like Lancaster is still involved in the coaching set-up.

  9. The key question is when going for a brute force and power game plan have the likes of Mallett and White done so because they believe this is the way the game should be played or because, based on the playing resources available, this is where they felt they could get a competetive advantage? I think it is the latter, and it is working out what style England will win with that is going to be fundamental for the next coach.

    Italy and Japan had completely different styles under Kirwin (who I think has great potential as a coach) because he seemed to adapt well to the different physical and skill attributes of his playing resources. Ireland and Wales have both, in my opinion, excelled in finding players that work for the style and implementing things that work for the players (e.g. huge upper body strength in back row enables choke tackles). They have found competetive advantages from the resources available.

    “What style are England going to be successful with?” doesn’t seem to be an easy question to answer. I have no idea what the answer is as collectively the current selection doesn’t seem to have the sum of the parts that will excel at any style. i.e.
    – Can’t dominate with a pack, not many candidates for even a Lions place.
    – Not enough pace, at 10 and 12 especially, for a running game.
    – A back row without a breakdown artist that means a tempo game against teams with breakdown artists will be difficult. We also dont have the fitness to run top teams off the park.
    – Not the passing skills to unlock good defences with brilliant passes.
    – Only 1 real power runner in the backs and only 1 forward (Morgan) who is a truly dynamic ball carrier, so a cross the gainline momentum based game looks difficult.

    We defend very well, we have the potential to have world leading defence, but as for the 50% or more ( hopefully ) of the game we have the ball I don’t see what the answer is.

    I’m glad White has his hat in the ring, I just hope whoever wins has the intellect to work out the right stlye for the resources available.

    1. Blimey Matt with the picture that you have painted, how on earth did we beat Scotland and Ireland – It sounds like we would have a hard job keeping up with Spain and Russia!

      1. It must be the chronic Man Flu that’s impacting my outlook …. though my assessment was against how we stack up against the top teams. I still fancy our chances against Russia.

        I love what Wales have done, clear vision of how the wanted to play, an understanding of what they needed to develop to play and win that way, which is now paying dividends. I think they are the side where the coaching team has made the greatest positive impact in their development. They are also the side that seems to take the biggest strides forward the longer they stay together. I’m looking forward to the day I can say the same about England.

        1. However it has taken them some time to get there and I don’t think England are that far off, even if I haven’t got man flu!

  10. Englands stengths lie in the tempo game that we’ve failed to reproduce since the Aus win. We don’t need a monsterous pack or amazing ball carriers. Playimg at a higher tempo gives the defensive line less time to reorganise, that is when we need to play right on the gain line to exploit the gaps. Our pack is very mobile at the minute and suits that style well and our defence is top notch, although more than a little can clearly be seen getting borrowed from the Sarries handbook ;)
    I dont think that style is the future of english rugby though. Not with the youth we currently have emerging in Ford, Daly, Joseph, Twelvetrees, May, Sharples, Burns, Kvesic. I can see England thriving on a game which relies on pace and accuracy.

    1. Completely agree with the mid to longer term outlook, no pace = no place. Not many square wheels in NZ or Aus backlines.

      The tempo game, short term, worries me.
      – We have had more ponderous packs in the past but I still rate us behind Ireland, Wales and France in terms of forward mobility. We are using our mobility to good effect in defence, Corbs pulling down Welsh backs on an outside break had me standing cheering. But I don’t see we’ve got the dynamism and explosive power at the breakdown to consistently get quick ball against the best teams.
      – We haven’t had a bench that has helped inject tempo (aside from the players that are now in starting line up)
      – Defences and line speeds are getting better and faster, so doing something ordinary quickly isn’t going to cut it.
      – Not many of our half backs play a high tempo game with their clubs (I hope Burns continues to develop).
      – Our best 7s may not be in the top 3 backrowers in the country but in this experimental period, where we are suposed to evaluating who can cut it and who can’t to start to build a core for 2015, I don’t see a downside to giving someone like an Armitage another go, he is a breakdown limpet, has skill and deceptive pace for (as Catt described him) a “dumpy” bloke.

      The Ireland game will be a more relevant test of our tempo game, France seem to have been focussing more on reforming the defensive line than scrapping at every ruck. Ireland will be better at nullifying our attempts to inject pace. If we can impose a tempo game on Ireland I will very happily do some word eating though.

  11. A blessing in disguise. He seems unable to make his mind up, isn’t this exactly what happended in November – he said he was interested before committing to Brummbies.

    1. I do not feel White is the man to take England forward, don’t see it as i big loss. Dare i say it i like SL, and think he should have a chance to take England forward, he has brought structure and discipline to the English Team. He took over a Team in turmoil and believe he has done a reasonable job so far

      1. I think people are overstating the team in turmoil bit. We had a dreadful tour and the coaching set up had long been stale, but we are 6N champions. SL inherited a far more stable group than Johno did in 2008.

        1. A team culture, some structure, fixing discipline and a collective work ethic. These are issues that someone coming in to coach a top international team should not have to deal with and shows how low we had sunk. The longer we stayed together the worse the performances became (deteriorated through the autumn internationals after fantastic start, deteriorated throughout the last 6N and played better in 2 of the warm up games than we did at the RWC). That’s just what happened on the pitch! I don’t think turmoil is an overstatement because of how far short of our potential we fell even though you can make an argument on the win:loss ratio for the year we had a great year!

          Future is bright though, every nation bar NZ, must have some envy at the depth of talent starting to break through.

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