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Jake White quits as ACT Brumbies coach

Former Brumbies coach Jake White with captain Ben Mowen.

Former Brumbies coach Jake White with captain Ben Mowen.

ACT Brumbies coach Jake White has sensationally quit his Super Rugby job just two months after leading the club to the grand final.

The Brumbies have granted White a release from the last two years of his contract because ‘‘his heart's not in it’’.

Assistant coaches Stephen Larkham and Laurie Fisher are the front-runners to replace White with the Brumbies starting the search for a new coach.

White also feels his pathway back to international rugby as an Australian based coach was shut when the Australian Rugby Union overlooked him for the Wallabies job.

The Brumbies are about to start a process to find a new coach and hope to have an appointment finalised within the next two weeks when the players return for pre-season training.

White approached Brumbies chief executive Andrew Fagan last Friday to ask for a release for personal reasons.

Fagan and Brumbies captain Ben Mowen spoke with White about his decision, but his mind was made up about staying in South Africa.

Brumbies players were shocked on Wednesday night when they learnt of the news on social media.

They were of the belief White was committed to helping them win a Super Rugby title and the coach had spoken to them last week about the pre-season training program.

White is in South Africa and will be at Newlands in Cape Town on Sunday morning to watch the Wallabies play the Springboks.

Fairfax Media understands White has been linked to a job at the Cape Town Stormers for next season, either as a coach or a coaching director, or a job at the Durban Sharks.

John Smit, White's former Springboks captain, is the boss at the Sharks.

It is understood missing out on the Wallabies coaching job affected White's desire to stay in Australian rugby.

The ARU overlooked White's World Cup-winning credentials to instead appoint Ewen McKenzie as the new Wallabies coach because of his vision to play ‘‘the Australian way’’, a reference to attacking rugby.

It's understood White met with Mowen in Cape Town on Wednesday night to inform him of his decision.

Larkham and Fisher have been working this week to finalise the 2014 playing roster and tie up loose ends that White left unfinished. Both assistant coaches have contracts to stay with the Brumbies.

But it's unclear whether their deals were affected by White's presence.

White has also signed the bulk of his playing roster until at least the end of 2015, but it's unknown if they have get-out clauses in their deals.

Players re-signed with the Brumbies because they bought into his program and believed he could turn the club into a Super Rugby powerhouse.

White's tenure in Canberra has been riddled with speculation about his future as the Brumbies coach despite signing a four-year deal.

White almost walked out on the Brumbies just two games into his contract when he was linked to the vacant England.

Just hours before the Brumbies clash against the Free State Cheetahs in March last year, he ruled himself out of the running and committed to his Canberra deal.

But since arriving in the capital, White has always stated his desire to return to international coaching.

White led South Africa to a World Cup triumph in 2007.

He was also linked to the Ireland coaching job earlier this year and then the ARU asked White to apply for the Wallabies job.

White met with ARU powerbrokers in Melbourne before the Wallabies' second Test against the British and Irish Lions in June.

Former South African World Cup-winning coach White was recruited to the Brumbies to lift the team out of its darkest era.

But he is now leaving after completing just two years of his four-year contract.

White overhauled Brumbies headquarters in Griffith and led them to within one win of a drought-breaking finals berth in his first year in charge.

In his second season with the Brumbies, they made the finals for the first time since 2004 and stormed into the grand final only to lose to the Chiefs in Hamilton in August.

The Brumbies will move into a new $15 million facility at the University of Canberra next year.

21 comments

  • Shattered to see Jake leave. He did a great service to Australian rugby and will be difficult to replace.

    I must say I am surprised to see him leave with the brumbies on the way up and the job half done.

    Commenter
    Shawn
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    September 25, 2013, 10:38PM
    • Hahahahahah suck it up... Welcome to the professional sports world. White is a mercenary. Fagan is really soft letting him out of his contract just because he wants to do something else!

      Fagan should go with him..., Yea mat you stuffed us around its OK, we will wear the cost to contract new coaches, console the playing group ETC.

      Laurie and Bernie did all the work anyway, so bugger off, good riddance, Fagan your next!

      Commenter
      Hammer
      Location
      ACT
      Date and time
      September 25, 2013, 11:03PM
      • So Mr White did not even need a get out clause to, well, get out! The lack of decent governance and an unwillingness for players and officials to stay the course in modern sport (with others sacked without due process) leaves many supporters with fewer and fewer reasons to remain as committed fans or committed club members.

        Commenter
        ChrusMec
        Location
        Canberra
        Date and time
        September 25, 2013, 11:30PM
        • This is terrible news...sad to see Jake go. Should have given him the Wallabies job, I was hoping they would. Not sure that Link is up to the task.

          Commenter
          logophile
          Date and time
          September 26, 2013, 12:46AM
          • He should have been the Aussie coach! Now we have lost a true rugby genius. Hopefully his influence carries on. Will Pocock stay?

            Commenter
            World's Southern Most Brumbies Fan
            Date and time
            September 26, 2013, 6:06AM
            • Unfortunately it is yet again proven that a contract is not worth the paper it is written on. Was the Brumbies job just a platform to the Australian job? Is this departure now just a dummy-spit at not getting the Australian job? If so, Jake should have stuck around a bit longer....the position may become vacant again sooner than expected!

              Commenter
              Big Bird
              Location
              Wollongong
              Date and time
              September 26, 2013, 6:42AM
              • Got it in one Big Bird.

                Commenter
                OLD DOG
                Date and time
                September 26, 2013, 10:21AM
              • Rubbish. If the contract had a clause which allowed either party to terminate with the appropiate notice, then it is working as the contract was intended. Read any employment contract - indeed almost any contract - and break for convenience clauses are the norm, not the exception.

                This is the 21st century, not the 19th. Contract law has moved on!

                Commenter
                FD
                Location
                Singapore
                Date and time
                September 26, 2013, 5:20PM
            • The ARU had the opportunity and blew it for this ridiculous Australian made attitude, well they are reaping what they sew. The two rugbys - Union and League and in reverse gear at an extraordinary rate and basically I am not sure that too many people care, particularly about the latter one.

              Commenter
              Ian
              Date and time
              September 26, 2013, 6:43AM
              • Are you kidding Ryan? League is so much more popular than union (aka yawnion). Just look at the crowds and tv ratings. Union is a toff sport only followed by the Elitist private school setup. The majority if footy people don't give a rats about yawnion.

                Commenter
                Ed
                Date and time
                September 26, 2013, 6:40PM

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