Brumbies accept Jake White's resignation
September 25, 2013
Jake White's tenure in charge of the Brumbies ended after just two years © Getty Images
Rugby World Cup-winning coach Jake White has quit the Brumbies with two years left on his contract, just two months after leading Canberra's Super Rugby franchise to the 2013 Super Rugby final and presiding over their historic 14-12 win over the British & Irish Lions, with Fairfax Media reporting that Brumbies chief executive Andrew Fagan accepted the coach's request to leave because "his heart's not in it".
White approached Fagan on Friday to ask for a release for personal reasons, but he is known also to believe his pathway back to international rugby as an Australian-based coach was blocked when the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) overlooked him for the Wallabies job after inviting him to apply to succeed Robbie Deans. The ARU overlooked White's Rugby World Cup-winning credentials to appoint Ewen McKenzie, who has won just one of his first four games in charge of the national side.
The coach has been in South Africa for two months after the Brumbies lost the Super Rugby final to the Chiefs, and Brumbies captain Ben Mowen confirmed the pair met in Cape Town. Mowen said that he and Fagan had spoken with White about his decision, but the coach was determined to remain in South Africa. White has been linked with positions at the Stormers and the Sharks.
Brumbies assistant coaches Stephen Larkham and Laurie Fisher are front-runners to replace White, with Fagan and his board reportedly hoping to announce an appointment before the players return for pre-season training in two weeks' time.
White transformed the Brumbies' fortunes since joining them for the 2012 season, taking them from 13th on the ladder in 2011 to second in 2013. He was named Australian Super Rugby coach of the year for 2013.
Mowen said the Wallabies job most likely was a major factor in White's decision, primarily as his failure to secure the position saw the coach return to South Africa on a long break. White's two sons from his first marriage live near Cape Town.
"It probably played a part because by not getting the Wallabies job he came back to Africa for three months, and probably spent a lot of time reflecting on where he would like to be and what was important to him," Mowen said.
"Part of that is being around his kids, part of it is looking at where the Brumbies program is at, and he's happy with where the program is. I think it did play a role but it's funny the way things work out, this way he is happy where he is at. That he does get to spend time with the family. He may have been regretful if he decided to stay in Australia another couple of years and really missed that connection, so it all works out for the best in the end."
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