Jake White leaves Sharks for international waters

Jake White has stepped down as Director of Rugby at South Africa’s Sharks Super Rugby team to pursue international opportunities ahead of the World Cup next year.

White, who coached South Africa to victory at the 2007 World Cup, guided the Sharks to third in the 2014 Super Rugby season having led Australia’s ACT Brumbies to the final the previous year.

“The time is right for Jake to free himself up for any international coaching and consulting opportunities ahead of the tournament in England,” the Sharks said in a statement on their website on Monday.

Sharks chief executive John Smit said White had always stated that his international ambitions came first when he made the switch to the Sharks in October last year having missed out on the opportunity to coach Australia.

International aspirations
“Jake and I have known each other a long time and were very frank in our discussions regarding this Sharks opportunity back in 2013,” said Smit, who captained South Africa’s World Cup-winning side in 2007.

“Jake was excited to implement change as well as be involved with South Africa’s most talented squad but from the outset stated his ambition to be on the international stage again and I was all too happy to have him for however long we could.

“What he has achieved for us in such a short time is incredible and our staff and players have learned a huge amount.”

White will relocate to Cape Town to be closer to his family.

Springbok injury concerns 
Meanwhile, national team the Springboks have injury concerns over key players ahead of their final Rugby Championship match against already crowned champions New Zealand in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Number eight Duane Vermeulen, one of the stand-out performers for the Springboks in 2014, is battling with a rib injury sustained in the 28-10 victory over Australia and will face a fitness late test on match-day.

“Duane fell awkwardly and injured a rib cartilage,” Bok team doctor Craig Roberts told reporters on Monday.

“Due to discomfort he was unable to continue playing and was substituted. He’s responded well to treatment but we will still manage him through training this week before making a final call on his availability to face New Zealand on Saturday.”

Should he not be fit it is likely that veteran loose-forward Schalk Burger will take over at the back of the scrum.

Habana’s blow to the head
The only other injury concern is winger Bryan Habana, who took a blow to the head while making a tackle in the build-up to Australia’s only try at Newlands.

“Bryan left the field and the standard head injury assessment was conducted by the match doctor, which cleared him to return to play,” Roberts said.

“Although Bryan returned to the field late in the first half, he developed some symptoms of concussion at the break and we decided to replace him permanently with JP Pietersen.

“He will need to follow the standard stepwise post-concussion return to play protocol before being considered for the Test at Ellis Park.”

The Springbok team to face New Zealand will be named on Wednesday. – Reuters

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Nick Said
Nick Said works from Cape Town, South Africa. Africa sports correspondent for Thomson Reuters, writer for Tiso Blackstar Group, KICK OFF, SuperSport, ESPN, Forbes Africa. Nil Satis Nisi Optimum. Nick Said has over 2986 followers on Twitter.

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