Respected coach leaves with two years left on his contract.
ACT Brumbies coach Jake White tendered his shock resignation to remain in South Africa after being overlooked for Australian national coach, the club said this week.
White steered the Brumbies to a Super 15 final in 2013 to cap an ascendant two seasons for the Australian franchise, but the club said he requested a release from the remaining two years of his contract after Queensland Reds coach Ewen McKenzie pipped him for top post at the Wallabies.
“To have Jake decide that he wants to pursue his international coaching ambitions from South Africa at this late stage is disappointing. He has achieved a great deal for the Brumbies and we felt he certainly had more to offer,” said club CEO Andrew Fagan.
“But I understand his reasons for seeking the release. He was obviously very disappointed in missing out on the Wallabies job and he sees his best opportunity to further his international coaching career is from South Africa.”
A “shocked” Fagan said White, who coached the Springboks to victory in the 2007 World Cup, also had two sons in South Africa who he wanted to spend more time with.
Assistant coaches Laurie Fisher and Stephen Larkham, a former Wallaby with 102 Test caps, would step into the breach while permanent arrangements were made, with reports the club would likely elevate one of the pair rather than look externally to replace White.
“It’s far from ideal that Jake is leaving right now, but in saying that we have two outstanding assistant coaches in Stephen Larkham and Laurie Fisher who have delivered the majority of the on-field coaching and they will continue to implement our high performance program,” Fagan said.
“We will make a decision on a head coach in due course.”