Jake White - A jobless World Cup winner!

2007-12-20 17:53:29

Of the top nations in the rugby world, only South Africa has no national coach. South African rugby was hasty - some say callous - in advertising the coaching position in the very week of the World Cup quarter-final. That quarter-final was on October 7, 2007 - three months before choosing the coach.

SA Rugby were hasty in laying down a deadline for applications and firm in not extending the deadline, but they have been happy to extend the deadline of their appointments. Their attitude differs remarkably from that of other nations.

New Zealand were knocked out in the quarter-finals and so, too Scotland. The have kept their coaches. Ireland did not even make the quarter-finals. They have kept their coach. England lost the final and kept their coach, at least for the next while. Wales did not make the quarter-finals and fired their coach the next day. But they have a successor already.

South Africa won the final and could not be quick enough in being shot of their coach, making him a victim and sending his book sales soaring.

John Connolly of Australia was not going on after the World Cup. After the World Cup Australia started looking for a coach and received applications, drawing up a shortlist. When Robbie Deans became available his name was added and he got the job. They wanted the best coach they could get.

After the South African deadline passed, South African rugby refused to consider applications from Dick Muir and Jake White. Applications were closed. The arbitrary deadline they had in place came into working. Red tape was more important than getting the best possible coach.

But they ignored their own deadline, putting it off for a month or so to allow an applicant to develop his application - or so they said - and to arrange a convenient time to meet.

France's eccentric coach, Bernard Laporte had made it known that he was heading for politics after the World Cup. When the World Cup was over, Marc Lièvremont was announced as the new coach.

Romania, like Italy, were also quick to make their change. Their team ended the World Cup on September 29 and on October 4 the Romanian Rugby Federation announced the new coach - Romanian Marin Mot to replace Frenchman Daniel Santamans.

Argentina knew Marcelo Loffreda was heading for Leicester. They have a new coach. Italy knew well in advance that Pierre Berbizier was going back over the Alps. They have a new coach in South Africa's Nick Mallett. They appointed the new coach after Italy had been knocked out.

Wales got rid of their coach, but have already appointed Warren Gatland.

Canada had a disappointing World Cup and their coach, Nic Suggit, ends his contract at the end of the year but he has been invited to reapply. There was no unseemly haste during the World Cup.

Except in one case, the countries had the decency/sensitivity to wait till after the World Cup and then made the change. South African rugby alone started before the World Cup was over and still has not made the change. The uncertainty is not healthy. But then it seems not to matter. After all South Africa are the world champions. Who needs a coach?

It may make the leadership of South African rugby look weak and hamfisted, but who cares?

If there was no haste in appointing the coach, what was the haste in advertising the post?

What was the deadline all about? Maybe it was just to show who was the boss. In fact it had the opposite effect. It looks silly. Looking silly impresses nobody.

The coaches around the rugby world look like this:

Argentina: Les Cusworth
Australia: Robbie Deans
Canada: Nic Suggit
England: Brian Ashton
Fiji: Ilie Tabua
France: Marc Lièvremont
Georgia: Malkhaz Cheishvili
Ireland: Eddie O'Sullivan
Italy: Nick Mallett
Japan: John Kirwan
Namibia: Hakkies Hüsselman
Portugal: Tomaz Morais
Romania: Marin Mot
Samoa: Michael Jones
Scotland: Frank Hadden
South Africa: ???????????????
Spain: Ged Glynn
Tonga: Quddus Fielea
USA: Peter Thorburn (Departed November)
Wales: Warren Gatland

New post World Cup
Re-signed Post World Cup
Continued from Pre World Cup