I was very fortunate to be granted a few minutes with Sharks Director of Rugby Jake White, after the Sharks’ captain’s practice in North London on Friday.
White consented to a recorded interview, so rather than transcribe each word, I’ve instead linked to the audio file below, to allow you all to hear exactly what he had to say.
I asked Jake about his plans for player management in the coming season and while he admitted that he wasn’t likely to pursue the same sort of strict rotation policy that Brendan Venter used in the Currie Cup, nevertheless highlighted the importance of squad depth and ensuring that players were ready to step in when required. Jake obviously learned a huge amount from his stint at the Brumbies and is relishing the opportunity to work with such a large and talented squad in Durban; in particular, he feels that the Chiefs’ bench was a factor that proved instrumental during last year’s Super Rugby final, with the young Brumbies unable to boast equivalent quality across their playing squad.
Jake also says that he is generally happy with the depth at his disposal and is not going to shy away from throwing youngsters into the mix when required, since he has such a good core of experienced players in the side to add balance. This is particularity true in the second row and at scrumhalf, where youngsters within the system will be backed to do the job.
I had to ask a question about loose forwards – and fetchers in particular – and Jake is clearly excited about the depth available to him in this area, citing the need to pick combinations of players that complement each other. The message is that “smaller” loose forwards, like Keegan Daniel and Jacques Botes, could definitely have a role to play in the White era, as long as he feels he’s compensated by picking enough bulk in other areas.
You can listen to the interview here.
A big thank you to Novashni Chetty and Mike Ablett from the Sharks for arranging this for us – and of course to Jake White for his time.Tweet