Jake White will not be given an automatic contract extension beyond the 2007 World Cup.
His Springbok coaching future will be determined by his success at next year’s World Cup.
The President’s Council on Tuesday heard White’s proposal for an extension to be given now until 2009. They have covered all their bases by agreeing only that his contract remains until the 2007 World Cup.
And they will re-open discussion within 30 days of the completion of the World Cup.
“The presidents’ council was unified in its support for the work done so far by the national coach and the performances delivered by the Springboks under his coaching leadership,” said president of Saru, Oregan Hoskins. “We are proud of his track record and especially pleased with the sound coaching and management structure he has put in place.
“After a very constructive discussion, the presidents’ council decided that the matter of extending the national coach’s contract would be dealt with within 30 days of completion of the 2007 Rugby World Cup tournament, as stipulated in his contract.
“The presidents’ council wants to reiterate that the national coach currently has a sound contract in place and that it has every intention to honour that agreement with the Springbok coach.
“We fully support the coach and again want to call upon all South Africans to give the coach and his team the full support they need and deserve, as they prepare for the very important and challenging away-leg of the Tri-Nations tournament.”
White, through SARU Communications Manager Rayaan Adriaanse, told Keo.co.za that he respected the Council’s decision and was committed to the Springboks.
It, however, remains to be seen just how long White remains committed.
White will stay for now, as he has confirmed, but the President’s Council hardly has given him a vote of confidence.
They will argue they have called his bluff and how White responds in the next few months will determine whether in fact it was a bluff or if there were other offers on the table that White seriously wanted to pursue.
White is in demand within the RFU — and his departure to link up with the English could seriously damage the Boks’ 2007 World Cup campaign.
The President’s Council may believe White is bluffing, but only the coach’s actions moving forward will tell of his true feelings.
White would have left the President’s Council meeting knowing that they believe he can be replaced and that they certainly weren’t willing to commit to him for four years.
The decision does make business sense because you cannot commit to any coach without the performance clauses it is said White wanted removed. But you can also give any coach the comfort of a long-term contract with specific performance clauses attached to it.
They have given White neither.