The World Cup-winning rugby strategist sensationally severed ties with the Canberra franchise this week, with two years of his four-year contract still to run.
“I have never made any secret of my desiore to coach again at international level,” White has said on more than one occassion.
This was cited as one of the reasons behind White’s shock decision in a statement issued in Canberra to Sapa-AP yesterday by Brumbies chief executive, Andrew Fagan.
White had asked to be released last Friday while on vacation in South Africa and had been in contact with Fagan and senior players.
“I’d have to say that I was shocked when Jake called to tell me that he was intending to stay in South Africa,” Fagan said in the statement, confirming White’s surprise departure after he led the Brumbies to this year’s Super Rugby final.
White’s ambition to return to international coaching was a major factor behind his decision to go home, Fagan said.
“To have Jake decide that he wants to pursue his international coaching ambitions from South Africa at this late stage is disappointing,”
Fagan said. “He has achieved a great deal for the Brumbies and we felt he certainly had more to offer.
“But I understand his reasons for seeking the release. He was obviously very disappointed in missing out on the Wallabies’ job and he sees his best opportunity to further his international coaching career is from South Africa.”
White missed out on the Australia coaching job in July when Reds coach Ewen McKenzie was chosen to replace New Zealander Robbie Deans.
At the time, White said he felt he was not considered because the Australian Rugby Union did not want to hire consecutive non-Australians as coach.
Meanwhile, Sharks chief executive John Smit, White’s captain when he coached South Africa to the World Cup title in 2007, then opened the way for a reunion at the Sharks after Fagan said White’s immediate future was back in South Africa.
“Could Jake White add value? Of course he can,” Smit said yesterday. “He is a very successful coach with an amazing track record. We would welcome an opportunity to engage with him, should it so arise.”
White also was linked with the Cape Town-based Stormers having recently been spotted at one of the team’s training sessions.
But the Durban-based Sharks seem to be the logical place for the 50-year-old White, who immediately made Smit his captain when he was appointed Springbok coach in 2004 and the pair went on to win world and southern hemisphere titles together.