Jake White is set to fly to London this week to finalise details of a possible five year contract as RFU Director of Rugby.
Some sources suggest White left on Monday evening; hence the delay of the Springbok squad announcement. Should White not be the Bok coach for the Vodacom Tri Nations then it would serve no purpose to actually have him select the team on Monday, a date that was already a postponement from the original Saturday night.
White is not on the official shortlist, but it is believed that this means little as he has been promised the job if he wants it.
SARU has not acted with haste, with Board members aware he was not on the shortlist. But these Board members seemed unaware that White’s omission from the shortlist was at the behest of the Bok coach, who had asked not to be linked to the job while he attempted to sort out his future with the South African Rugby Union.
It is no secret that there has been interest in White to coach the Lions to South Africa in 2009, but the Bok coach has previously deflected that kind of talk.
Whatever the nuts and bolts of the RFU connection, it is not a bluff. Keo.co.za has seen correspondence that links White to England, in some or other capacity.
And White’s healthy relationship with Sir Clive Woodward should not be discounted.
The Daily Mail’s Peter Jackson, one in the know when it comes to the politics of England rugby, reported that Woodward was the favourite to get the job and if he did he would also get the coaching team he wanted for the England senior side.
Jackson wrote that the RFU Director of Rugby would also be empowered to select the national squad.
According to the Daily Mail, the RFU have produced a 14-page job description, a final draft of which has been seen by Jackson. It will provide the basis for an independent head-hunting agency’s global search and spells out the RFU’s refusal to tolerate poor Test results, currently the worst for more than 20 years.
It says: “In order to meet the demanding strategic objectives of the RFU, results must improve and the objective, to be the world leaders through excellence in every aspect of the elite game, must be met.”
It also stresses the need to find a political solution to the vexed club-against-country row.
The RFU wants to make the appointment in the next two months and the paper lists Woodward, Nick Mallett, Eddie Jones and former Wasps and Ireland coach Warren Gatland as the shortlisted candidates.
Mallett confirmed to Keo.co.za that he had been approached, but that he had given no indication of a commitment, other than to listen to meet with the consultant who interviewed White and Jones among others.