Summary ProfileJake White, appointed Springbok coach in 2004, reached the pinnacle of his international coaching career by guiding South Africa to World Cup success in 2007. As well as winning the prestigious RWC he Springboks won the IRB Team of the year, White was named IRB Coach of the year and Bryan Habana was named IRB Player of the year for 2007.
It meant White recording the double after his under 21 squad won the World title in 2002.
White, 44, is the first Springbok coach to come through the ranks at all levels, which has given him a unique insight into the country’s rugby structures.
Winning is a rare commodity in South Africa today and the country desperately needs someone who has proven that he can win, and instill winning in others, as White has done.
White was involved, as Assistant Coach, with the Springboks in 29 test matches, of which only five resulted in defeat. His record with the National under-21 side is even more impressive, with only two losses in 15 starts.
White was honored by world rugby when he was named the IRB Coach of the Year 2004 . In the same year the Springboks won the Vodacom Tri-Nations for the first time since 1998. The Springboks won the IRB Team of the Year, and bright young star Schalk Burger under the tutelage of Jake won the prestigious award of IRB Player of the Year.
He started his career as a coach at Jeppe High School before progressing to become the provincial schools coach. After this, he coached various varsity sides at under-19 and 21 level. Even at this level, White’s technical prowess was well known and he assisted the World Cup winning Springboks with video analysis in 1995.
After the success of ’95, White assisted various senior sides in a technical capacity. He also quickly progressed from coaching the Lions’ under-21 side to the national setup where he has now coached the National side for two years running, winning the inaugural IRB Under-21 Rugby World Championship in 2002.
In his presentation to the SARU assessment committee, White stressed that the country definitely possessed the players to be successful at the highest level. What he hopes to instill is a clear pattern of play that he believes has been lacking in recent times.
With 26 years of coaching experience under his belt, White says that he has not forgotten the old school values of tradition and discipline.
These values were prominent in his four year tenure as Springbok coach. During that time White was voted IRB coach of the year twice, guided the Springboks to a Tri nations trophy and won the World Cup in 2007.
His Springboks enjoyed a 70 percent success rate and in his four years White’s Boks beat every team. He was also at the helm of the Springboks when they won for the first time at Twickenham in 10 years – and when the Boks beat England at the World Cup he had completed four additional successive wins within a year.
White’s life story ‘In black and white’, released after the Springboks’ World Cup win, is the biggest selling book in South African history, selling 250 000 copies.
White in 2004 summarized his vision for the future of the National side in four points:
Adapting to the changes in the game,
Knowledge that we have the necessary talent
Continuity of selection
Good technical, physical and mental preparation
“Today’s problems cannot be solved with yesterday’s solutions,” said White.
And he was true to every one of those principles.