Why White fears a new president

Springbok coach Jake White, accused of backing an extension of Brian van Rooyen’s tenure as SARU president, is wary of Andre Markgraaff’s return should Oregan Hoskins unseat Van Rooyen.

Lobbying for the presidency is reaching a climax this week and the Hoskins camp, led by Cheetahs President Harold Verster and Mike Stofile, have expressed concern that White had attempted to canvass votes (on behalf of Van Rooyen) among the small unions.

White knows what he has in Van Rooyen, who earlier today was reported in the press as saying he would give White whatever he requires to prepare for the 2007 World Cup. Van Rooyen has said he would not interfere with White and allow him to his own devices.

Enter a new president and the Bok coach is again confronted with the possibility of a national director of rugby. Enter Hoskins and the possibility of Andre Markgraaff as the national director of rugby becomes a distinct possibility White does not want to deal with.

Hoskins, a few weeks ago, told Keo.co.za that he and Markgraaff had not been in contact and that Markgraaff was not a part of his election campaign. Hoskins said the only interaction he had with Markgraaff was a phone call in which Markgraaff wished him well for the election.

Keo.co.za’s sources, however, indicate that Markgraaff wants the post of national director of rugby created — and he wants to be it.

At the time of Markgraaff’s resignation from the SARU administration, Hoskins was quoted as saying that he felt Markgraaff would be missed on rugby matters and that he had a high regard for any rugby contribution Markgraaff could make. Hoskins did say that he felt Markgraaff may have struggled as an administrator, but that there were other contributions he could make.

This would have scared White, who did not want to work with Markgraaff. The Bok coach made this clear just days prior to Markgraaff’s resignation. The two had clashed on the eve of the Boks test win against the Wallabies in Pretoria.

It has long been argued that SA Rugby needs a national director of rugby — an individual who can coach other coaches and act as a sounding board to the national coach. Nick Mallett’s name was bandied about long before he took over as WP Director of Rugby.

However, nothing came of that, despite initial approaches to Mallett to establish interest.

Hoskins, should he feel the need for a Director of Rugby, could still look to someone like Mallett, but the most likely introduction would be Markgraaff. And such a scenario could be the start of the end for White. It is why White is backing the one he knows, rather than the one he doesn’t.