Brumbies Release Rugby Coach White From Last 2 Years of Contract

The ACT Brumbies released Jake White from the final two years of his coaching contract, eight weeks after he took the Australian Super Rugby team to the championship game.

White, who coached his native South Africa to the 2007 Rugby World Cup title, requested the release last week because he wants to pursue coaching options from his home country, Brumbies Chief Executive Officer Andrew Fagan said.

“I’d have to say that I was shocked when Jake called to tell me that he was intending to stay in South Africa. We are well into our planning for next season,” Fagan said today in a statement. “To have Jake decide that he wants to pursue his international coaching ambitions from South Africa at this late stage is disappointing.”

The 50-year-old White, who began a four-year contract with the Canberra-based team in July 2011, took the Brumbies from 13th place that year to second in 2013. As well as reaching the Aug. 3 Super Rugby final, where they lost 27-22 to New Zealand’s Chiefs, the Brumbies became the first provincial team since 1997 to beat the touring British and Irish Lions in June.

Three weeks later, White was overlooked for the job as head coach of Australia’s national team when the Australian Rugby Union appointed Ewen McKenzie.

“I understand his reasons for seeking the release,” Fagan said. “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.”

The Brumbies said assistant coaches Laurie Fisher and Stephen Larkham, a World Cup winner with the Wallabies in 1999, will take control of the team in the short term while “permanent options are investigated.”

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