Bryan Habana backs Jake White’s abilities amid Wallaby rumours

Former Springboks Rugby World Cup winning coach Jake White (L) is tipped for the Australia job.
Former Springboks Rugby World Cup winning coach Jake White (L) is tipped for the Australia job.
Image: Ziyaad Douglas

Springbok legend Bryan Habana has backed 2007 Rugby World Cup-winning coach Jake White’s credentials after he was linked to the Wallaby coaching job this week.

Current Wallaby coach Michael Cheika is under massive pressure following a third dismal season‚ which only yielded four wins in 13 matches for Australia.

Since making the 2015 Rugby World Cup final in Cheika’s second season in charge‚ the Wallabies have won only 17 of 42 Tests‚ with 23 defeats and two draws. This year they won just four of 13 Tests.

Earlier this week White‚ who is currently coach of Toyota Verblitz in Japan‚ was linked to the Wallaby job.

Australian media reported that the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) was set to talk to White about the possibility of replacing Cheika less than a year from Rugby World Cup 2019.

The phone call meeting never happened after news of it was leaked to the media‚ but it’s clear that the ARU are examining their options.

“White approached Rugby Australia and asked to have a conversion‚” a Rugby Australia spokesperson told AFP.

“Rugby Australia has decided not to proceed with the call.”

Habana‚ who made his Test debut for the Boks under White in 2004‚ and who claimed the World Player of the Year gong in 2007 after scoring eight tries at the tournament‚ backed White’s ability.

“I think it’s all rumours at the moment‚” Habana told Omnisport while on publicity duties at the HSNC World Sevens Series in Dubai.

“No one really quite knows what’s happening.

“Jake is a pretty technical coach who can achieve at the highest level. He comes with a wealth of experience and he’s proven himself in the game.

“He’s a good coach but Australian rugby have also backed Michael Cheika publicly. It’s difficult to say what will happen.”

White led the Boks for four years‚ winning the 2004 Tri-Nations and the 2007 World Cup. He also took the Brumbies from 11th in Super Rugby to finalists in two years between 2012 and 2013.