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Greg Growden
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After more than 30 years with The Sydney Morning Herald and Fairfax Media in Australia, Greg Growden now writes exclusively online for ESPNscrum. Never afraid to step on toes, you can expect plenty of compelling insight from one of Australia's most renowned rugby writers.
Ruck'n Maul
ARU comments inflamed Jake White's stance
Greg Growden
September 26, 2013
Brumbies boss Jake White, Bulls v Brumbies, Super Rugby, Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, South Africa, April 21, 2012
Jake White is believed to have been upset that ARU officials derided him as a "Saffa" who was "precious" © Getty Images
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Inflammatory comments from several Australian Rugby Unions (ARU) officials finally convinced Jake White to walk out on the Brumbies and Australian rugby.

White's departure shocked some Brumbies supporters who were delighted how he had revitalised the province, but those who know the beast were less surprised. White has for some time been angered to have missed out on the Wallabies' coaching position, believing he had been promised the role by a high-ranking ARU official. White was so convinced that he would take over from Robbie Deans that he had already begun discussions over who would be part of his Wallabies coaching and managerial staff. But a late change of opinion from one ARU director saw Ewen McKenzie suddenly catapulted into the position ahead of White.

White, who for so long had been the favourite for the national coaching position, and who had been interviewed for the job in June, was naturally upset to suddenly be out of the mix. The fact that a member of the media, rather than the ARU, was first to tell him that he had missed out did not help the situation. White headed to South Africa, and for some time appeared committed to stay with the Brumbies. But several high-ranking sources have told Ruck'n Maul that recent discussions with ARU officials convinced White there was no future for him in Australian rugby.

The Australian Super Rugby provinces recently discovered the ARU was so eager to push its Sevens program that officials were planning a training squad involving those players who were not involved in the end-of-season Wallabies tour of Europe. One ARU official, after getting an idea of who would be in the Wallabies tour squad, is understood to have contacted several regular Super Rugby players likely to miss out, to get them involved in a separate training squad focused on Sevens football. This naturally upset the Australian provinces because it would hinder their preparation for the 2014 Super Rugby tournament. The Australian provinces have also been distressed by the ARU's recent obsession with Sevens football, so much of it motivated by it being an Olympic sport.

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Ruck'n Maul has been told of several tense conversations in recent weeks between White and ARU officials on numerous subjects - including Sevens. White, still fragile after being "badgered" by the ARU to pursue the Wallabies position, made it known he was unimpressed with the ARU process. One ARU official then said after White had been critical of the national body and the attitude of some of their officials that he had "now spoilt any chance he had of ever coaching the Wallabies".

White is also believed to be upset that one ARU official recently referred to him as a "Saffa" and another ARU director called him "precious".

White now has been linked to coaching positions with the Stormers and Sharks in South Africa, especially given his desire, reported by multiple third parties, to spend more time with his sons. But sources have told Ruck'n Maul that White would consider strongly the option of being in charge of Argentina in the 2014 Rugby Championship and Rugby World Cup 2015.

Argentina officials recently approached Michael Cheika, as reported in Ruck'n Maul, but the Australian appears to be committed to New South Wales Waratahs. White, meanwhile, has repeatedly stressed that he again wants to coach at an international level, and the Pumas would be the perfect alternative to the Wallabies.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
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