Heinz de Boer reports for iol.co.za
Having seemingly shrugged off the controversy that dogged him during his four years as Springbok Rugby coach, an almost jubilant Jake White has predicted that new coach Peter de Villiers could soon lose his job because of the politics that is rife within the game.
In a forthright speech in Durban on Tuesday night, White said rugby lovers, and De Villiers, could look forward to increasing interference in the sport as politics and racial quotas are put before the game.
Speaking to a large gathering of attorneys and high-profile personalities at the Livingston Leandy Inc corporate function, White dissected his four years as coach, while also giving a rare glimpse into the World Cup victory that thrilled the nation.
According to White, his career in rugby had humble beginnings, having not won rugby colours at his primary school, Jeppe.
“My maths teacher once told me that the quicker I realise there is no money in sport, the better,” White quipped.
But his years as Bok coach appeared to have scarred White, who said the “bad times were so bad” that he would never consider coaching again.
“I would not mind being involved in the sport and helping out but I could not see myself coaching a team like the British Lions.”
And although supportive of de Villiers, he said de Villiers had stepped into the coaching job without the backing of nine rugby board members, who had not supported his appointment from the outset.
All it would take is one upset and a subtle shift in support from the board and de Villiers could find himself without a job, White said.
“People don’t realise how difficult it is to coach a team in South Africa. I mean, 2006 was a year from hell for me. SA Rugby was really phenomenal in promoting my book, because every time I ran out of things to say they would help me add a chapter,” White said sarcastically.
Speaking of the race quotas that are being pushed for, White said it would be folly to simply place players in playing positions if they were not ready for the tough world of international rugby.
Giving full credit to team captain John Smit for leading a team that was already so culturally diverse, White predicted dismal times ahead if careful thought was not given to selection.
“No matter what colour he was, every player had a job to do. And often people above me did not understand that it would be unfair to put a player in a position that he is not comfortable in.
“It’s easy from the outside to say what should be happening on the inside, but if we expose some kid and he is not ready, they (international players) are going to eat him alive,” White said.Tweet