Jake White believes that the controversy surrounding the extention of his coaching contract has not disrupted his side’s Vodacom Tri-Nations preparations.
After the presidents coucil refused to extend White’s contract to 2009, speculation is rife that he will accept a job with the RFU after the Sanzar competition. The RFU is apparently willing to buy out the remainder of White’s Bok contract.
The Springboks left for Australia on Thursday, but White again had to answer questions about the increasing doubt over his future with the side and the impact it’s had on his players.
“I do not believe it has influenced the players, but maybe you should ask them,” said an irritated White. “It’s not a big thing. That is why these things are called negotiations. There are negotiations, but it is now time to focus on our job.”
In addition to the negotiations, White has had to deal with a spate of injuries in his team.
“We must make the most of the opportunity,” he said. “I am rather excited to see how the players will perform Down Under. Chiliboy [Ralepelle], Pierre [Spies] and JP [Pietersen] have been part of our plans for a while.
“Just think back to what happened when AndrÃ© Venter was chosen to replace the injured Francois Pienaar. He made his mark and played in more than 50 matches for the Springboks.
“The same happened when Justin Swart was injured and Percy Montgomery replaced him. Those were opportunities that the players seized,” said White.
“I have to be optimistic. It has that dÃ©jÃ vu feeling, because in 2004 there were about eight injured players that we could not consider.
“And, look what happened. We lost in the last minute of the match in Christchurch and then lost narrowly to Australia. How many people had given us a chance of being competitive in those matches”