Brumbies coach Jake White. Photo: Chris Dutton
AUSTRALIAN Rugby Union boss Bill Pulver wants Jake White to stay in Australia at the end of his ACT Brumbies tenure, admitting he is still an option as a future Wallabies coach.
But World Cup-winning coach Graham Henry fears White's South African style will rule him out of ever winning the Australian job.
White's contract with the Brumbies finishes at the end of 2015 and he has already declared his intention to return to international coaching.
White was overlooked for the Wallabies job in July, with Pulver opting to make Ewen McKenzie the new coach because of his vision to play the ''Australian way'' - attacking rugby.
When asked if White would ever be given a chance to be the Wallabies coach, Pulver said: ''Who knows what happens in the future, he's a terrific coach.
''Jake has a very successful style, he has one of the best records of all international coaches. There's no problems there. If he can stay in Australia, which is what I would like, you never know.''
There is a perception that White's coaching style will not suit the Wallabies.
Despite a horror start to the Rugby Championship campaign, losing the first three Tests, Pulver said he wanted the Wallabies to play entertaining and attacking rugby. The ARU invited White and McKenzie to each pitch their case to be the successor to sacked coach Robbie Deans.
White's vision for the future was about winning.
McKenzie's was about winning ''the Australian way''.
Despite White's style being labelled boring, the Brumbies scored 12 more tries than McKenzie's Reds in the 2013 Super Rugby season.
The Brumbies made the final while the Reds were bundled out in the first week of the play-offs.
White has also won a World Cup, as the South Africa coach. But Henry, who guided New Zealand to a 2011 triumph, said the desire to play ''the Australian way'' would harm White's prospects.
''Jake's South African. He coaches the way he has developed over the years and they have a certain style which is bloody difficult [to play against],'' Henry said.
''Jake has put his style in with the Brumbies … would it be successful at the next level? I think Australians would struggle with that style because you need dominance up front and if you don't get that, you're buggered.''
White has been the Brumbies coach for the past two seasons.
When he took over in Canberra, the Brumbies had just three players in the Wallabies 30-man World Cup squad.
In a remarkable turnaround, the Brumbies had nine players in the Wallabies' 23-man team which played Argentina on Saturday night.
White has been the most successful Australian coach over the past two seasons, winning more games than any of his rivals and his team scored more tries.
''I hope Jake and Ewen have a very close relationship [for the Wallabies], but any involvement is Ewen's decision, not mine,'' Pulver said.
''Jake is a world-class coach and I sincerely hope we can keep him in Australia.''
The Brumbies are finalising their roster for the 2014 season.
The ARU is also working with SANZAR to organise a blockbuster round-one clash for the grand finalists to start the 2014 campaign, likely to be against Australian rivals Queensland or NSW.