Jake White wants to be loved in Pretoria — and it starts with getting Heyneke Meyer to embrace his presence at Loftus!
“Since I became Bok coach, I sometimes felt like a stranger when I visit Pretoria. It shouldn’t be like this, because I’m sure it doesn’t happen to the Wallaby coach when he visits the Brumbies and the Waratahs.”
After 18 months of understated aggression between the Bok and Bulls coaching staff, White flew to Pretoria to try and ease tensions.
He spoke to Beeld’s Bulls correspondent Morris Gilbert afterwards, insisting the meeting with Meyer was necessary and beneficial.
“My discussion with the Bulls was constructive and I’m feeling better already. It’s of the utmost importance that we get rid of any misconceptions on the eve of a new series (Super 14) as well as the World Cup tournament taking place in 18 months time. A lot of negative things are reported: that I don’t like this or that I won’t select that player, but often the player just hears and reads what he wants to hear and read.”
Late last year and early this year the Bulls and Bok fitness staff blazed a few verbals at each other, using the media in an attempt to gain an advantage.
Now sanity seems to have won and White has realised that as national coach you can’t beat a provincial entity in South African rugby. You simply have to work with them.
“If we want to be the best, we can’t expect things will just happen or problems will just disappear. You have to solve them by making the necessary adjustments.”
Gilbert also reports that White discussed the ‘misconception’ of the players that he does not like the Bulls and does not like to select their players for the Bok squad.
“You can’t satisfy everyone all the time, but I practice an open-door policy letting every player know where he stands.”