Jake White, the new director of rugby at the Durban Sharks, returns to Canberra when they play the Brumbies on May 10.
ACT Brumbies chief executive Andrew Fagan is expecting Jake White to get a ‘‘warm reception’’ when he returns to Canberra as the Durban Sharks director of coaching next season.
And codehopper Sonny Bill Williams could find himself wearing a Waikato Chiefs jersey at Canberra Stadium next year in an Anzac Day grand final twilight rematch in the 2014 Super Rugby draw, which will be released on Tuesday.
White was halfway through a four-year deal with the Brumbies before he sensationally walked out on the two-time Super Rugby champions because he missed out on the Wallabies coaching job.
On Monday, less than three weeks later, he signed a three-year deal with the Sharks, who will play the Brumbies at Canberra Stadium in round 13 on May 10.
It will give Brumbies fans the chance to let the World Cup winning coach know exactly what they think of his abrupt departure.
Fagan thought it would be a positive response, after terms of a release were agreed to allow White to coach again. There was a clause in his contract preventing him from coaching for 18 months if he walked out on the province.
The Chiefs, who may have Sonny Bill Williams back on board, play the Brumbies on Anzac Day at Canberra Stadium. Photo: Getty Images
‘‘It will provide some added interest and I’m sure he’ll get a warm reception at the stadium,’’ Fagan said. ‘‘He’s been a fantastic coach for us, he’s well respected by the people of Canberra.
‘‘I know there was some disappointment at the manner of the exit, but I think they’ll remember his feats down here.’’
White’s return wasn’t the only highlight of the draw for Brumbies fans. They’ll get a Anzac Day clash, which doubles as a grand final rematch, and a repeat of their semi-final at Loftus Versfeld.
Benji Marshall and the Blues play the Brumbies at Canberra Stadium on April 4.
Williams’ future is once again up in the air, with the part-time boxer considering whether to return to the Chiefs or stay with NRL champions Sydney Roosters.
If he does switch back to rugby union and join the reigning Super Rugby champions, he’ll be part of the Anzac Day twilight game at Canberra Stadium.
He was meant to play in the rugby league Anzac Test there earlier this year, but pulled out due to a knee injury.
It will be the Brumbies’ second home clash on the celebrated day, having hosted the Johannesburg Lions in 2008.
‘‘We wanted to play a New Zealand team on Anzac Day this year, particularly given it’s the 99th year celebration of Anzac Day, and to pick up the Chiefs in a grand final rematch is absolutely fantastic,’’ Fagan said.
‘‘We requested they try and make it a twilight game, so it will really complement the other activity in the day and it’ll be a massive clash at Canberra Stadium.’’
The Brumbies play all of last season’s finalists and open next year against the Queensland Reds at home. They also host arch-rivals the NSW Waratahs in round four and return to face the Pretoria Bulls, who they beat in last season’s semi.
Rugby convert Benji Marshall will also come to Canberra, after leaving NRL club Wests Tigers and signing with the Auckland Blues. They play the Brumbies in round eight.
‘‘It’s a fantastic draw for the Brumbies and supporters,’’ Fagan said. ‘‘We kick off with two massive games with the Reds in our first home game and followed by the Waratahs a few weeks later, so to have our two biggest-drawing games of the year in the warmer months is fantastic.
‘‘The Bulls have probably been the most successful South African team over the last six or seven years and it’s always tough playing them in Pretoria. The guys enjoyed an historic semi-final win just a few months ago and I’m sure that will give them confidence.’’
The Brumbies will finalise the panel that will decide White’s replacement later this week, with the internal appointment of Stephen Larkham or Laurie Fisher likely.