'Lions are like the haka'
June 17, 2013
Jake White is pumped finally to face the Lions © Getty Images
As a professional coach, he's just about won it all: junior and senior Rugby World Cup finals, Tri-Nations titles, IRB Coach of the Year accolades. But until Tuesday night, one thing has eluded Jake White's coaching record: the British & Irish Lions.
After stepping down as Springboks coach after Rugby World Cup 2007, White missed his chance to face the Lions when they toured South Africa in 2009. Back then, Australia's national capital probably seemed a pretty unlikely location for White to break his Lions drought; but that is precisely the situation in which the Super Rugby-leading Brumbies coach now finds himself.
In the lead-up to the tour match, I had the chance to sit down and chat with White to get his thoughts on the Lions in general, how he's seen them so far, and what it will mean to him to finally coach against them. It's hard to ignore the genuine enthusiasm in some of his responses, too. Listen to the interview on the player below, as White and I cover off topics including:
Of course, the Brumbies have the final chance to knock off the tourists before the first Test at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night. Queensland had a red-hot crack 10 days ago, and even New South Wales gave it pretty well to the Lions for 55 minutes on Saturday night.
And the Lions are in a bit of an endangered state currently, with a host of replacements summoned to ease the growing injury crisis. Billy Twelvetrees, who arrived in Sydney on Friday, to make his Lions debut alongside England team-mate Brad Barritt, who joins the tour from America where he was on vacation.
On the right wing, Christian Wade, who made his Test debut for England against Argentina only recently, gets a Lions debut after arriving in Sydney on Monday morning. And we're all still catching our breath after the shock recall for Welsh legend Shane Williams, now playing with Mitsubishi in Japan. Williams, in Australia on media duty for the tour, has been brought into the squad for the Brumbies match only, and will return to international retirement on Wednesday.
The Brumbies have named a side similar to that which defeated Melbourne Rebels on June 7, with returning Wallabies squad member Peter Kimlin to captain the side. And they will be keen to gain revenge for the narrow loss in 2001, when Matt Dawson converted Austin Healey's try after the final siren to give the Lions a narrow 30-28 victory over the Brumbies.
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