Bok coach quits after being left off shortlist

World Cup winning Springbok coach and IRB coach of the year Jake White spectacularly quit South African rugby yesterday, announcing that he would not be renewing his contract which ends on December 31.

World Cup winning Springbok coach and IRB coach of the year Jake White spectacularly quit South African rugby yesterday, announcing that he would not be renewing his contract which ends on December 31.

White thanked his players and management, Springbok team sponsors and his family in a statement read out yesterday, but took a swipe at the SA Rugby administration and the President's Council, acknowledging he had enemies in the organisation who had wanted to see the back of him.

He will still travel to the UK with the team for the end of year tour matches against Wales and the Barbarians, his last as Bok coach, and said he would see out his contract until the end of December.

White said the final straw in his decision to quit was after Monday's nationwide celebration had finished at Newlands in Cape Town, and SA Rugby had put out a press release announcing the four candidates on the shortlist for the Springbok coaching job.

They are Bulls coach Heyneke Meyer, Springbok assistant coach Allister Coetzee, former Springbok Sevens coach Chester Williams and former SA Under-21 and Emerging Springbok coach, Pieter de Villiers.

White said he had wanted "time to reflect" and make a decision over his future and to let the emotion of the World Cup triumph subside, but the announcement of the shortlist for the job had blown the wind out of his sails.

"Sure it's difficult to walk away and I feel really disappointed at the way they [SA Rugby] have treated me, going about announcing the shortlist when I was told I did not need to reapply. I needed time to let the emotion subside before I made a decision on my future and don't believe it was handled correctly, clearly without the backing of the people who employed me.

"People from all over the world are phoning me and asking whether I would consider jobs in Australia, England, Wales and so forth. But then why not SA Rugby? Their statement [on Monday] sums it all up," he said.

White said it was "well documented" that there were people in the President's Council with whom he had a difficult working relationship.

He said that Saru president Oregan Hoskins had confirmed this, saying "sooner or later someone would have to go".

"I am not on a witch-hunt and would like to exit in a dignified manner because I was privileged and honoured to coach with the Springboks and work with such fantastic players," he said.

"Now we have a great opportunity to play together as the No 1 team in the world, have a nice time and say goodbye."

White said he wished his successor luck, "he is going to need it", and that he was grateful for having had the chance to change people's lives.

"When is the right time to walk way? This year? Next year, or in four years' time? Unfortunately, it was not my decision ultimately." - Sapa

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