KSA Shark ©

Western Force in talks with Jake White

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, Super 14 on 25 Feb 2009 at 07:19
Tagged with : , , ,

Rugby World Cup-winning coach Jake White has emerged as a potential candidate to take over the reins at Western Force if the Super 14 franchise releases embattled coach John Mitchell at the end of the season.

White has already been in contact with the Force, an informed source said.

Bret Harris writes for Aussie newspaper The Australian that Mitchell, whose coaching methods and management style were the subject of a recent inquiry, remains contracted to the Force until 2011.

But there is still uncertainty about his future.

The Force are understood to have already decided that Mitchell, if he is cut, will be replaced by another high-profile coach.

The recruitment of Mitchell, who coached New Zealand from 2001 to 2003, was regarded as a coup for the Force, who opposed the wishes of the Australian Rugby Union by signing the first foreign coach of an Australian Super rugby team.

White, who achieved what Mitchell failed to do with New Zealand, guiding the Springboks to victory in the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France, would certainly provide the Force with instant credibility.

A coach of White’s stature would help the Force to retain and recruit players.

He has not coached a team since the World Cup but has acted as a consultant to English club Saracens.

There are fears of a player exodus from the Force following Australia five-eighth Matt Giteau’s decision to return to the Brumbies next year.

Force full-back Drew Mitchell is being chased by the Brumbies, New South Wales Waratahs and Queensland Reds, while the Waratahs are also very interested in inside centre James O’Connor.

Early indications suggest that Mitchell will follow his close friend Giteau to Canberra.

Mitchell said that joining Giteau in Canberra was “an option worth looking at”.

“A big part of my reasoning in coming over here was to play with Matt Giteau,” Mitchell said.

“It’s going to weigh quite heavily in my considerations as to what team I’ll play with next year.

“My next contract will take me to another World Cup campaign (in New Zealand in 2011) and I want to make sure that I give myself every opportunity to be in the reckoning for that.”

There was speculation the Waratahs would intensify their efforts to recruit Mitchell if current full-back Sam Norton-Knight accepted an offer to play in Japan or Europe.

But the Waratahs are keen to secure Mitchell and O’Connor whether Norton-Knight stays in Sydney or not.

The Waratahs’ backline has stuttered a little in the side’s opening two wins against the Hurricanes and Cheetahs.

But with Mitchell at full-back and O’Connor at inside centre, the Waratahs would field one of the classiest backlines in world rugby.

Force chief executive Greg Harris said earlier in the week that the club would recruit a foreign five-eighth or inside centre to replace Giteau.

But John Mitchell said the Force would seek a marquee No.10.

While the 18-year-old O’Connor was a long-term prospect at five-eighth, Mitchell saw his immediate future at inside centre.

“James is going to be a very good player,” Mitchell said.

“He can play three positions, but he’s very young and needs to gain experience.

“And the best way to gain experience is by playing but also being surrounded by a person who does have experience and that’s a solution to arrive at.

“Most of the players who have become great fly halves in the world, like Dan Carter and Matt, started their careers at 12 and moved into 10.

“It gives them time and space and also allows them to give voice to their fly half and also for them to see opportunities to present themselves.

“So I see in time, as he develops that plus his kicking game, that he can become a very good fly half.

“In terms of our capability we’ve still got a great opportunity to develop players.

“And we’ve got a chance to buy the best in the world.”

While players will no doubt leave the Force, fears of a mass exodus are overstated.

The Force has about 20 players coming off contract, but there are only so many vacancies at the other three teams.


  • Jake White WILL be a big draw card if he joins them and quite a few players will stay rather than leave if he coached the side.

    The Force are being so clever about this.

    Make it clear early on that Jake is possibly coming and use this info to give players second thoughts about leaving.

    Announcing that Jake is coming at the end of the season would be useless as half the team will be gone by then. Get the info out there early.

  • Comment 1, posted at 25.02.09 07:29:47 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • Can’t JW rather take over at the Lions? 🙄

  • Comment 2, posted at 25.02.09 07:32:08 by walter van transvaal.co.za Reply
    walter van Lions World
  • @walter van transvaal.co.za (Comment 2) : 😆

  • Comment 3, posted at 25.02.09 07:44:15 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • Is there any team that Jake White has not been ‘in talks’ with? 🙄

  • Comment 4, posted at 25.02.09 10:37:45 by McLovin Reply
  • @McLovin (Comment 4) :

    The team that needs him the most. 😆

  • Comment 5, posted at 25.02.09 10:43:43 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • Force officials strongly deny any contact has been made with White, with RugbyWA chairman Geoff Stooke even sending an email to Mitchell’s management company assuring them their client’s position is safe.

    “The RugbyWA position is very clear and simple. John Mitchell is the head coach and has two more years of his contract to serve,” Stooke wrote in the email.

    “Accordingly, no other coaches are being approached by the organisation to replace John.”

    RugbyWA chief executive Greg Harris also denied he had held talks with White.

    “I have not been contacted by Jake White, nor have I made contact with him myself,” Harris said.

    “I can categorically confirm that I have not had any communication with him and nor do I intend to.

    “The football department under John Mitchell’s leadership is functioning as well as any I’ve ever been associated with.

    “John has my full personal support as the head coach of the Western Force.”

  • Comment 6, posted at 25.02.09 16:19:04 by McLovin Reply
  • And now for Mr White’s side of the story:

    WORLD Cup-winning Springbok coach Jake White has revealed he was sounded out by a representative of the Western Force’s main sponsor, Emirates, as a possible coaching replacement for embattled incumbent John Mitchell.

    Although he wouldn’t rule out accepting the Force job if it became vacant – which Rugby WA chairman Geoff Stooke insisted will not happen until Mitchell’s contract expires in 2011 – White revealed he would love to coach the Wallabies or the NSW Waratahs. Speaking from London last night, White told The Australian the approach about the Force coaching position “was not a formal thing”.

    “I was at a function when an Emirates man came up and said to me there was a lot of talk about player unrest over John Mitchell and the last thing they wanted, having got Matt Giteau, Nathan Sharpe and a lot of talented young guys to come across to Perth, was to now lose them,” White said.

    The Emirates representative indicated to White, coach of the South African side that won the last World Cup in 2007, if Mitchell was to go, they wanted to bring in “someone on the same level”.

  • Comment 7, posted at 25.02.09 16:20:42 by McLovin Reply
  • Apparently Jake’s new missus owns a house in Perth. 🙄

  • Comment 8, posted at 25.02.09 16:23:46 by McLovin Reply
  • White revealed he had made known his personal circumstances and his desire to coach in Australia to ARU chief executive John O’Neill.

  • Comment 9, posted at 25.02.09 16:24:41 by McLovin Reply
  • @McLovin (Comment 7) : I will let my secretary do his booking…Jake, who do you prefer SAA or British Airways ❓ 😉

  • Comment 10, posted at 25.02.09 16:25:07 by Charlie Reply
  • @McLovin (Comment 8) : and is keen to return to live in Australia in order to qualify for residency.

    “That’s why I was looking at maybe spending some time in Australia,” White said.

  • Comment 11, posted at 25.02.09 16:25:49 by McLovin Reply
  • White insisted he would not necessarily only be interested in a high-profile coaching job in this country. “To be fair, I’d love to be involved in Australian rugby, even in the development level,” he said. Specifically, he would like to help bring on a whole new generation of good Australian props.

    😆 😆 😆

  • Comment 12, posted at 25.02.09 16:26:44 by McLovin Reply
  • @Charlie (Comment 10) : :mrgreen:

  • Comment 13, posted at 25.02.09 16:27:14 by McLovin Reply
  • I actually think Jake will do well in a place like Perth…

  • Comment 14, posted at 25.02.09 17:11:33 by Hmmm Reply
  • And he will soon have the same physical type of player (ex-pat SA’s) coming through the school ranks to pick from….

  • Comment 15, posted at 25.02.09 17:13:47 by Hmmm Reply
  • @McLovin (Comment 7) :

    Well that is happening anyways…

    Mitchell cannot be too bad of a coach as the Force have never been a walk over…

  • Comment 16, posted at 25.02.09 17:14:31 by Hmmm Reply
  • @Hmmm (Comment 15) : :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

  • Comment 17, posted at 25.02.09 17:16:21 by rekinek Reply
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  • Maybe he is a lot like a Ray Jennings and or Laurie Mains…
    They win matches and not friends…
    I mean Laurie couched the Cats (and no I do not believe the Cats and LIONS are the same team) to two consecutive semi-finals…and left because of feuds with players…(especially Rassie)…

  • Comment 18, posted at 25.02.09 17:17:46 by Hmmm Reply

  • But will the Australians be tall enough to FETCH

  • Comment 19, posted at 25.02.09 17:20:17 by Hmmm Reply

  • @Hmmm (Comment 19) : maybe luke will follow

  • Comment 20, posted at 25.02.09 17:27:43 by rekinek Reply
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  • @rekinek (Comment 20) :

    LoL you might be right…Jake will need beer to drown his front row sorrows…

  • Comment 21, posted at 25.02.09 17:35:19 by Hmmm Reply

  • Jake appears to though to be linked, do not minding to be linked or maybe even linked with so many teams nowadays. can’t he just get a job. He is a good coach – i think

  • Comment 22, posted at 25.02.09 17:51:57 by rekinek Reply
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  • @rekinek (Comment 22) :

    True…he is consulting everywhere and in talks with half the teams out there…

    He should decide if his break time is over or not…I am sure if he is serious about returning to rugby he will find something….

  • Comment 23, posted at 25.02.09 17:55:22 by Hmmm Reply

  • @Hmmm (Comment 23) : unless his price tag is bit big – but still the Franchies throw so much many at players – why not at coaches – they are only little less pretty 🙄

  • Comment 24, posted at 25.02.09 18:01:59 by rekinek Reply
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  • @rekinek (Comment 24) :

    And most have less hair…but agree…that is no reason to treat them differently…

    Some coaches bring players with them…which is another advantage of taking out some extra cash for the coaches…

    But I have never really heard coaches salaries being publicized…

  • Comment 25, posted at 25.02.09 18:19:24 by Hmmm Reply

  • Ok I am off…..
    Cheers peoples…

  • Comment 26, posted at 25.02.09 18:21:18 by Hmmm Reply

  • I see Pretorius is injured again!??!??!??!??!??!

  • Comment 27, posted at 25.02.09 18:21:44 by Hmmm Reply

  • And Heinke is banned for a match!??!??! I did not even notice a dangerous tackle…

    Well it would be good to know how our scrum holds without Heinke there….better now to test that than later

  • Comment 28, posted at 25.02.09 18:23:01 by Hmmm Reply

  • @Hmmm (Comment 26) : Hmmm – there is new thread about Luaki. I have been waiting for you to post because you are everywhere 😆 and now you want to go …

  • Comment 29, posted at 25.02.09 18:23:55 by rekinek Reply
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  • And Heinke will have two weeks off (as the LIONS have by next week)….
    So that will be his rest and from thereon out he will have to play 80 minutes every game…
    That will be 800 min of consec rugby…

  • Comment 30, posted at 25.02.09 18:24:15 by Hmmm Reply

  • @Hmmm (Comment 27) : NO 😯 what a surprise 😉
    but serious – are you serious?

  • Comment 31, posted at 25.02.09 18:25:22 by rekinek Reply
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  • Why does AP not get wrapped up like VM does before a game…it might just protect him more and he might just last longer than a single game (and he has not even played a full one yet…barely completed a half)….

  • Comment 32, posted at 25.02.09 18:25:52 by Hmmm Reply

  • @rekinek (Comment 31) :

    Yes….and I give one guess WHAT is injured!??!

  • Comment 33, posted at 25.02.09 18:26:32 by Hmmm Reply

  • Article attached below….

  • Comment 34, posted at 25.02.09 18:28:04 by Hmmm Reply

  • Lions ‘lame ducks’ against Bulls?
    Wed, 25 Feb 2009 16:38
    The Lions may be without the services of two key players when they host the high-flying Bulls in a Super 14 Round Three match in Johannesburg on Saturday.
    Already they will have to do without star prop forward Heinke van der Merwe, who was banned for one match for a dangerous tackle on Sharks centre Francois Steyn last week.
    And now it appears that injury-prone flyhalf André Pretorius could also be ruled out, after he again injured his hamstring.
    It was confirmed on Wednesday that Van der Merwe will miss the encounter with the Bulls, after being found guilty – at a SANZAR Disciplinary Hearing chaired by Deker Govender – of a dangerous tackle, under Law 10.4(b).
    The judicial officer found Van der Merwe guilty of lifting the Sharks centre, Steyn, beyond the horizontal and making no attempt to lower him safely back to ground in the 76th minute of the match.
    Van der Merwe has lodged an appeal against the suspension but a date has yet to be set.
    His teammate, utility back Jannie Boshoff, was cleared at the same hearing.
    Lions coach Eugene Eloff confirmed that Pretorius is also doubtful, after pulling up lame – following a training session on Monday.
    “He has some stiffness of the hamstring,” Eloff said, adding: “We will make a call on his availability on Thursday.”
    Pretorius played off the bench in the first two rounds, having just made a comeback after more than a year of an injury-enforced lay-off.
    He trained with his Lions teammates on Monday, but woke up in the middle of the night in some discomfort.
    The loss of two such key players, especially, Van der Merwe, could be crucial for the Lions as they look to bounce back from last week’s disappointing 10-25 loss to the Sharks.
    By Jan de Koning

  • Comment 35, posted at 25.02.09 18:28:35 by Hmmm Reply

  • And that is it for AP the hamstring King…
    And this time he did not even get injured in practice…he got injured in his SLEEP!???!

  • Comment 36, posted at 25.02.09 18:29:34 by Hmmm Reply

  • Oh jinne!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment 37, posted at 25.02.09 18:29:59 by Hmmm Reply

  • Ok really gotta go now….cheers….

  • Comment 38, posted at 25.02.09 18:32:00 by Hmmm Reply

  • @Hmmm (Comment 38) : bye…. I will be wrapping up soon too.

  • Comment 39, posted at 25.02.09 18:35:36 by rekinek Reply
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