Jake White will on Friday be given the guarantee of coaching the Springboks until the 2009 Lions series.
The SA Rugby Union board met in Cape Town on Thursday and a media briefing is scheduled for Friday afternoon at the Springbok team hotel. It is as this press conference where White’s contract extension will be formally announced.
Keo.co.za has learned that a failure to commit long-term to White could have meant White leaving South Africa in the next week to take up an overseas position.
Keo.co.za has it on good authority that White was considering an overseas option, three times the value of his current contract. The Board was made aware of the offer some time ago and White’s agent Craig Livingstone has been locked in negotiations about the coach’s future in the last two weeks.
The Board were given an ultimatum: Commit to White now for the next three years or lose him before the start of the Tri nations.
Several senior Bok players are believed to want clarity on White’s future before committing to a national contract post the 2007 World Cup. This has forced the Board to act now and either back White or part company with him.
They have decided to back him regardless of the outcome of next year’s World Cup and to ensure there is continuity until 2009 under the same coach.
Keo.co.za’s information is that the Rugby Football Union wanted to poach White and were prepared to commit to him as early as next week.
White, who won the Tri nations title in his first year in charge, has a 70 percent international win record and his Bok team is unbeaten in 13 tests at home since 2004, the 30-all draw in Durban against France last year breaking the winning sequence.
In this time the Boks have beaten the All Blacks (twice), Australia (three times), France, Scotland (twice), Ireland (twice) and Wales.
White’s record abroad is less impressive with the Boks having lost twice to the All Blacks, twice to Australia and once to England, France and Ireland respectively.
White’s only major overseas success came against Australia in Perth last year.