White targets Springboks return
September 6, 2010
Jake White wants another crack at the World Cup © Getty Images
World Cup-winning coach Jake White has launched a bid to oust current South Africa boss Peter De Villiers from his post and return to Springboks' hotseat.
De Villiers is under enormous pressure after presiding over a disastrous Tri-Nations campaign - which saw his side finish last with just one win to their name - and is set for a South African Rugby Union (SARU) performance review at the end of September. The Boks' slide from champions to wooden spoon holders was confirmed on Saturday as they slipped to a 41-39 loss to Australia in Bloemfontein.
De Villiers' strained relationship with the media also plunged to a new low last week after he offered the squad's support to Bulls prop Bees Roux, who has been charged with the murder of a police officer in Pretoria, exacerbating the problems caused by his earlier claims of a refereeing conspiracy in this year's Tri-Nations.
With De Villiers apparently clinging to his job by his fingernails, White has contacted SARU president Oregan Hoskins to offer his services on an interim basis. The 47-year-old stepped down from the top job in 2007 after leading South Africa to the Rugby World Cup title in France.
"I can't bear to watch the Springboks playing like this anymore," White told South African newspaper The Times. "I'm ready to do a hospital job and coach the Springboks to the World Cup in 2011 if the South African Rugby Union wants me.
"I've already made contact with SARU president Oregan Hoskins but he keeps telling me he has to run the idea past the executive council. Well, I'm saying I'm available because what we've seen with the Springboks in the past 10 months is worrying."
White believes that current Western Province boss Allister Coetzee should have succeeded him as national coach, but suggested that it would be unfair to promote him so close to the start of the World Cup.
"Allister was the man who should have been appointed to replace me after the last World Cup," White told Supersport. "I said so at the time, and I remain convinced about that. But I think it might be a bit unfair on Allister, or anyone else for that matter, to be brought in on a 12-month contract and expected to fix it in that space of time with no guarantee that they will stay on beyond the World Cup.
"When you take over the national job, you do need a bit of time to grow into it. At a World Cup you need someone who has been a head coach at international level for a while. I am prepared to do that job and take it on a temporary basis. I have experience of what is required, I know the players because two thirds of the guys who make up the core group were players I coached up until the last World Cup."
White has also sounded out former Wallabies boss Eddie Jones for the role of assistant coach, a move designed to reunite the coaching team which took the Springboks across the finishing line in 2007.
"I have spoken to Eddie and he is very eager to get involved again if the opportunity arises and he would love to have a crack at winning another World Cup," he said. "Neither myself or Eddie are in contract with anyone at the moment, we can start next week if SARU want us to.
"We are available to work with the Boks again, and I have told Oregan Hoskins as much. To me it's hard to imagine how they can think they can carry on with the current set-up, but getting someone with the necessary experience in for just 12 months is going to be difficult. The players we have in this country are good enough to win a World Cup, they just need guidance."