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Why White was overlooked

Written by Richard Ferguson (Richard Ferguson)

Posted in :Original Content, Super Rugby, Wallabies on 11 Jul 2013 at 09:15
Tagged with : , , , , , ,

Australian rugby is entering a new era under newly appointed head coach Ewen McKenzie, but it could just as well have been Jake White leading the Wallabies. Here is why he isn’t…

According to an interview with, Australian Rugby Union boss Bull Pulver said that White and McKenzie are both world class coaches, but that McKenzie was preferred due to his more attractive playing style. While White has a superb record as coach, his style is more defensive while McKenzie coaches the Australian way.

Both coaches had secret interviews in which they were asked about playing style and their vision for Australian rugby, and while McKenzie got the nod, the statistics show that White’s Brumbies have played a more ‘Australian’ brand of attacking rugby over the past few years.

In the past two Super Rugby seasons, the Brumbies have beaten the Reds in tries scored, this year’s gap being 11 tries more for the Brumbies. The fact of the matter is that McKenzie is an Australian and was preferred purely on that basis, this after their first foreign coach, Robbie Deans, was released six months before his contract was set to expire. This may have cost White the job, and may force White to reconsider his current role in Australia.

When Pulver was asked if this is the case, whether it was always top priority to appoint an Australian, he denied it. Pulver was quoted as saying that he had to find the best coach, and when two coaches are equally world class, there is clearly an advantage in being Australian.

White has made it clear that he would like to coach a national team again, and should he wish to coach a top nation once again, he would have to make the move to New Zealand or Europe in order to further his career.


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