Jake jolted by technicality

Jake White’s 2009 contract extension is on hold because of a corporate governance issue, according to SARU officials.

National Teams general manager Andy Marinos told a press conference that SA Rugby’s Board only realised at Thursday’s board meeting that they did not have the power to confirm White’s contract extension. Marinos said the matter was on the agenda, but after closer examination of the SA Rugby Constitution the Board members realised they could only make a recommendation and that the President’s Council, which consists of the 14 provincial presidents, are the only authority capable of confirming White’s contract extension.

What could not be answered with any degree of conviction is why it took an examination of the constitution at the Board meeting to realise the Board had no authority, when White’s contract extension was tabled and itemised in the agenda sent out to the Board members prior to the meeting.

Why was White not told in the build-up to the Board meeting that the Board had no authority to confirm anything and that their power was limited to recommendations only? It asks some serious questions of those actually running the game.

Marinos said the Board members were aware that White had overseas offers and that the Bok coach had been up front about these offers. He said the Board members did view the matter with urgency and that he was hopeful of a final decision in due course. When asked to clarify ‘due course’, he said sometime in July.

There is a feeling that the Board is waiting to see how White’s Boks shape in the French test and the early Vodacom Tri Nations tests, but Marinos dismissed this, telling Keo.co.za that any such thinking would be immature and not in the spirit of moving forward.

Marinos said the Board were fully behind the coach, who had a contract to 2007.

“Everyone is committed to Jake,” said Marinos. “Certain structures have to be put in place and they aren’t there yet.” Marinos said that the delay in the process was down to a new leadership and the changes within the game in the last three months.

On the possibility of losing White, Marinos said the Board accepted that White (as a professional) had the right to enter into negotiations with anyone. They were aware of who he was talking to and there had been transparency in all discussions.

White told Keo.co.za that it was a frustrating time because the matter should have been dealt with by this time. He said his focus was with the Boks and the test match and that his loyalty was with the Boks. He did add that he had to consider all options and these included overseas approaches.

Asked whether Saturday’s test could be his last in charge of the Boks, White would not answer.

Given that the official confirmation was not made on Friday — SARU cancelled the press conference at which it was to be announced — it is understood that White will fly to London next week to discuss potential employment with, among others, the RFU.