Wed 23 Jan 2019 | 11:13

Jake White opens up about his future

Jake White opens up about his future
Wed 23 Jan 2019 | 11:13
Jake White opens up about his future

EXCLUSIVE: Listen as Jake White chats to Jan de Koning about life in Japan and what the future holds for the former World Cup-winning Springbok coach.

When White departs Japan in November, after the World Cup, he will do so as a champion.

Having arrived at Verblitz in 2017, White took the team to victory over Sungoliath in the Japan Cup Final this past weekend.

White’s team included a rash of South African players – including former Bulls star Jason Jenkins (who scored two tries in the Final) and Springbok utility back Gio Aplon, who captained the Japanese club in the Final.

Other South Africans who feature in the Verblitz squad this past season include Reniel Hugo, Jannes Kirsten, Carl Wegner, Lionel Cronjé and Clinton Swart.

“The South African players showed they are willing to work hard,” White said of his contingent from the Republic.

“In the past, a lot of players saw this [playing in Japan] as the end of their careers,” he said, adding: “A lot of the South African players are still young and want to make a name for themselves.

“That brought a different energy.

“Players like Lionel Cronje and Carl Wegner still have lots of years left. They are not at the end of their careers, they are in the middle of their careers.”

White also decided to name 17-times capped Springbok Gio Aplon as captain in the latter rounds.

“The Japanese boys have really warmed to Gio,” White told @rugby365com, adding: “The young Japanese boys enjoy the way he talks.

“He is an exception [at Verblitz] because he is a bit older [36].”

Jake White & Gio Aplon

White said he is still harbouring ambitions of coaching at international level again.

“I have been lucky enough to coach all around the world,” he said of stints at the Brumbies, Sharks, Tonga (technical advisor), Montpellier and now Verblitz – after his World Cup-winning run with the Springboks from 2004 to 2007.

“When you are a coach, you want to learn from different environments.

“[There was] Australia, France and now in Japan. It is good for me.

“The teams are all different. It just makes you so much better as a coach.”

Since his arrival at Verblitz White has taken the team to three semifinals and they won a trophy.

Verblitz champions

He will stay in Japan until after the World Cup, but then he becomes a free agent and is available if an international position opens up.

“One of the things I have learned is that you can’t plan too far ahead,” White said.

“I have been caught before, where I was under contract and other, international, opportunities come about.

“I will see what options are available after the World Cup.

“I am young enough to coach another 10 years.

“I always said I would like to get back into international rugby.

“I know that post-World Cup things change drastically – it changes in all countries.

“I am happy to wait and see what happens. As you get older, you realise timing is everything. You have to make sure you are available.

“I know the rugby landscape will change after the World Cup.”

By Jan de Koning

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Jake White Opens Up About His Future - Japan | Rugby365