|Jake White with the William Webb Ellis Cup|
|Full name||Jacob Westerduin|
|Date of birth||19 March 1963|
|Place of birth||Johannesburg, South Africa|
|School||Jeppe High School for Boys|
|Rugby union career|
|Years||Club / team|
| South Africa
|Rugby union career|
Jake White (born 19 March 1963 as Jacob Westerduin) is a rugby union coach and former coach of the South Africa national rugby union team – the Springboks – who he coached to victory in 2007 Rugby World Cup and the 2004 Tri Nations. White also coached the Under-21 Springbok side to victory in the Under-21 World Cup in 2002. He was coach of the Brumbies in the Super Rugby from 2012, but resigned with two years remaining on his contract in 2013 to return to South Africa. In February 2013 White was appointed as Adjunct Professor at the University of Canberra.
Coaching resume up to 2004
Jake White was born in Johannesburg and attended Jeppe High School for Boys where he played in the First XV. He began his coaching career as a high school rugby coach at Parktown Boys' High School's First XV before returning to his old school as a teacher and as coach of the school's First XV. White's success with the school team resulted in him being appointed as provincial schools coach. Later he coached various under-19 and under-21 sides before assisting Springbok squad preparations by doing video analysis for them. By this time he was well known for his technical prowess in rugby circles, and he lived up to his reputation by coaching the under-21 Springbok side to a victory in the U-21 Rugby Union World Cup in 2002.
White was appointed as head coach of the national team in early 2004 when South African rugby was in turmoil following their poor performance at the 2003 World Cup, the Kamp Staaldraad scandal, numerous internal conflicts within their national federation.
With the Boks in turmoil the stage was set for a savior. In comes Jake White. Little was known about the man that won the U21 World Cup, and it was deemed that he had little coaching experience despite his strong involvement with the Springboks and the Sharks alike. His first move was to install John Smit as captain; a move which was met with derision for much of White's tenure and that of his successor Peter de Villiers. That said, the Boks successfully completed a double over a powerful Irish side and scalped the Welsh with conviction. A friendly with the Pacific Islands collective was again dealt with powerfully, an opponent which had troubled both New Zealand and Australia in previous weeks.
The Springboks then departed on the away leg of their Tri-Nations campaign with a trip to Christchurch. The Boks had not beaten the All Blacks since their home game against them in the 2000 Tri-Nations; this preceding a seven test losing streak. The Boks started the game furiously, their rush defence stifling the All Blacks and though they had very little ball they scored the only tries of the first half. After 30 seconds Jacques Cronje sent Jean De Villiers over in the corner for the opening score. The Boks would add two more tries to their tally; that being from scraps of possession. The Boks led the game until the very last play by New Zealand where Doug Howlett scored to snatch victory from the noses of a hungry Springbok team. Lamenting ill-discipline, the Boks vowed to improve on this performance. Their following trip to Australia saw the fruition of this endeavour. The Boks flourished in the dryer conditions as they dominated their opponents. Again though, it was a final score in the final ten minutes, by the captain of the U21 Springbok Champions no doubt, that snatched what should have been another victory.
Buoyed by their strong showings, the Boks stamped their authority on their opponents in their remaining two tests to seal their first Tri-Nations trophy since 1998. The Boks brushed aside New Zealand with disdain and held-off Australia as they marked a joyous return to winning ways and firmly reestablished the Boks as a major force in world rugby.
A Grand Slam tour was notably a bridge too far for this side as they were noticeably fatigued and in need of extensive conditioning. Facets that Jake would work hard to improve over the following seasons. Losses to England and Ireland punctuated the disappointment.
Nevertheless, the Springbok resurgence was honoured with a sweep of the major International Rugby Board awards. The Boks were named Team of the Year, White Coach of the Year, and flanker Schalk Burger Player of the Year. The Springboks ended 2004 having won 69% of the games played that year, and leaped two spots to fourth in the IRB's official world rankings. Soon after the 2004 Tri Nations victory, White's contract was extended to after the 2007 Rugby World Cup.
In 2005 White came under fire from many fans because of his loyalty to players that were in the 2004 squad. Instead of choosing "form" players, he chose to stick with players that played well during the 2004 Tri-nations season, but had failed to impress since then.. The criticism reached its peak after a comprehensive 30–12 defeat to Australia in Sydney in 2005.
Most of White's critics were silenced during the following five weeks. First, the Boks retained the Mandela Challenge Plate by defeating the Wallabies in the return fixture in Johannesburg. One week later at Loftus in Pretoria, the Boks again defeated the Wallabies in the Tri Nations opener. The following week, the All Blacks, fresh off sweeping the British and Irish Lions, came to Newlands in Cape Town, where they had not lost to the Springboks since 1976. The Boks' surprise win over the All Blacks not only put them in pole position to retain the Tri-Nations trophy, but also vaulted them over the Wallabies into second in the world rankings. This would be the only Test that the All Blacks would lose in 2005. Two weeks later the Boks returned to Australia for the home leg of Australia's Tri-Nations campaign, beating them yet again to put White's choices beyond doubt. It was also the first time since 1971 that the Springboks had managed to beat the Wallabies three times in a single year. The Boks would lose in New Zealand to the All Blacks to end their 2005 Tri Nations campaign, but the closeness of the match - the Springboks led 27–24 until New Zealand hooker Keven Mealamu scored a try in the 76th minute - largely defused any remaining criticism of White till the end-of-year tour to Europe of 2005.
The 2006 season got off to a strong start with a 36-16 win over a confident Scotland contingent; fresh off the back of beating both France and England and finishing third in the Six Nations of that year. This optimism was soon replaced by intense apprehension and frustration over the following months as the Boks narrowly beat the same Scotland side the following week as Springbok kingpin Schalk Burger suffered a career-threatening neck injury in the very same game. A disappointing loss to France in Cape Town left the side bereft of confidence ahead of a Tri-Nations opener against Australia. A member of the conditioning team stated that the Boks no longer felt they were in a comfort zone going into the Tri-Nations.
Perhaps the lowest point in Springbok history, alongside the 2002 drubbing at the hands of England; the Springboks were dealt a record defeat to Australia by 49 points to nil. The matched was marred by very inaccurate play, punctuated by flyhalf Jaco Van Der Westhyzen's purported 'drop kick' just outside his 22 after fumbling the ball. Larkham led his charges magnificently in exposing the Springboks defensive frailties and shattering any chance of a Bok revival.
A week later and the Boks put up a much stronger showing against New Zealand. Though the Boks frustrating ill-discipline allowed for the All Blacks to tally a total of seven penalties to pull away comfortably. Pressure was beginning to mount at this point, and so too injuries. The Boks gave New Zealand a real working over at the breakdown and dominated the All Black lineout throughout; but the aforementioned ill-discipline and the sublime Dan Carter were too much to contain in the end. Bakkies Botha injured his calf on the eve of this test requiring surgery and joined stalwart Schalk Burger as a long term injury.
Jake rallied his troops in the Springbok's final match of their away tour in the newly expanded Tri-Nations. The Springboks looked set to seal their first win of the competition until a late try by Matt Rogers allowed for Mortlock to score the winning conversion and compound Bok woes. The loss splintered moral and soon political turmoil would engulf the team as Jake White's tenure was put into question. Supposed secret meetings in England and the issue of transformation put considerable strain on the team as a meeting with the powerful All Black's loomed later in August. Numerous journalists in South Africa with strong ties to Cheeky Watson campaigned viciously for the removal of Jake. This a knee-jerk reaction to Jake's refusal to play Luke Watson and name him captain of the side.
With the Boks now on home soil they had time to reflect on their failings and regroup. Despite this brief reprieve the beleaguered Boks seemed to undo their good work in the previous two tests in exhibiting yet another poor defensive display that harkened back to the 49-0 loss in their opening game. A burst of three tries inside ten minutes allowed New Zealand to dominate the game and confirm their status as the preeminent force in world rugby. A strong fightback by the Boks was not enough as they were held at arms length and masterfully picked off.
Backs firmly planted to the wall the Springboks were determined to end their campaign strongly and salvage some measure of respectability. Jake seemed to find the right balance in the back row and the Boks stubbornly defeated New Zealand in a disciplined and accurate display at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium. The Boks rolled up to Ellis Park the following week to right the wrongs of their heartbreaking loss to Australia in their final away match; they provided another very strong showing with yet another disciplined and accurate display. The standout feature of this match was the manner in which Solly Tyibilika outplayed his more fancied opposite George Smith - regarded by many as the greatest fetcher of his era.
With back-to-back wins over their Tri-Nations rivals Jake White decided to rest the remainder of his front line players for the up-coming End of Year Tour. They started their campaign against Ireland in celebration of 100 years of Bok rugby. The Irish however had other ideas and put away three tries that exposed the poor defence of Pierre Spies in particular and Bryan Habana out of position at 13. Spies was twice caught charging out of the line and the Irish swiftly punished that opening each time. The Springboks, fielding a largely experimental side, fought hard as Habana and debutant Francois Steyn dotted down in the second half. That comeback was roundly ended by Horgan after O'Driscoll expertly put him away to seal the game.
Next up was a two test encounter against England at fortress Twickenham. The Springboks had not beaten England since the Spring Tour of 2000 where the Boks won 18-13. England exacted revenge a week later and had built a period of dominance spanning six years. Even more disconcerting was that the Boks had not won at Twickenham since 2007; this leaving the Boks with a nine-year hoodoo to break. The Boks dominated England for much of the first test and seemed certain of victory until a late try by Phil Vickery gave England the result. A key turning point in the game was the injury to Butch James. His replacement, André Pretorius failed to deliver the steadiness Butch provided and missed an important penalty. However, the Boks gained confidence from this display and relished their second chance to redeem themselves.
Unlike the first test, England got off to a strong start with stinging attacks that left the Boks defending for most of the first 30 minutes. In fact, it wasn't until the 26th minute that the Boks launched their first serious attack started by nuggety scrumhalf Ricky Januarie. England finally scored on the half-hour mark, but a missed conversion signalled the end of their dominance. The Boks got to work dominating the English with bruising defence, probing tactical kicks and set piece superiority. Burly prop CJ Van Der Linde punctating the Bok's dominance in brushing aside two defenders as he burst his way through England's defensive line and dotting down for a crucial score. André Pretorius nailed three drop-goals which left the English on the ropes. As England became more desperate and lost for invention, the game slipped further away from them. The curse of the Red Rose was final lifted in arguably the most important victory of the 2006 campaign. The result unfortunately ended the tenure of Andy Robinson as England dubiously replaced him with Brian Ashton. Jake White however just managed to stave off his critics and end what was an emotionally exhausting season.
The final analysis was that this was a year of growth as much as it was a disappointing lost opportunity. Injuries to Schalk Burger (broken neck), Bakkies Botha (calf surgery), Jean De Villiers (cracked rib), Bryan Habana (cracked rib), Butch James (groin and knee), André Pretorius (groin), Joe Van Niekerk (C5 & C6 vertebrae), Jacques Cronje (cracked rib), Danie Rossouw (hamstring), Juan Smith (left quadriceps), Eddie Andrews (back), BJ Botha (back surgery), CJ Van Der Linde (Leg), Gurthro Steenkamp (broken hand), Pedrie Wannenburg (wrist surgery), Marius Joubert (fractured hand) amongst other lesser injuries stretched the Bok's depth to its limit. The blessing was that it allowed the Boks to break their reliance on certain individuals and expand their depth in blooding new players and testing new combinations. Francois Steyn was undoubtedly the find of the season alongside the elusive Ruan Pienaar. Jake also found depth in Wynand Olivier and Pierre Spies; the former being used extensively in plugging gaps left by injuries in the backline. Jake lamented the many lost opportunities of this campaign but was optimistic about the various changes they made to their defensive patterns and saw it as an important learning cuve ahead of the World Cup the following year.
The Springboks could not have started their campaign any better as they utterly demolished England in back-to-back tests. Again, this being very important in the context of their World Cup campaign, as they faced the World Champions in the same group. England must however be credited for their resolve in the second test where a Jonny Wilkinson led side actually led the game at half-time. South Africa were guilty of sloppy play in the opening 40 minutes which was met by stern midfield defence by the English. A powerful scrum aided England in securing a measure of dominance. Fresh from the break however South Africa stepped up and rampantly tore into their guests. This culminated in two 50 pointers in as many weeks. The fans suddenly began to believe in their side again. Then came more political meddlings to sour the mood. Oregan Hoskins - President of SARU - proceeded to override Jake White in the selection of Luke Watson as an addition to the 45 man squad submitted by Jake to the South African Rugby Union. Luke Watson went on to represent South Africa in ten tests, his first and solitary test of this particular year being in the following Samoan test at Ellis Park. In a game that was well suited to the fetcher Watson did very little to justify his position in the team. His performance was disjointed and substandard. This prompted Jake to reject him authoritatively - something Jake's successor, Peter de Villiers would do the following year after similarly poor performances. The Springboks won this test convincingly on the scoreboard but Samoa were not to be beaten without a fight in a typical arm-wrestle of a test.
With the Spring Tour successfully negotiated the Boks embarked on their Tri-Nations opener. They began their campaign at home against Australia in a powerful display. They attacked the fringes with strong carries by their big ball carriers and tied up the Australians before attacking wide. Guilty of missing several opportunities they did however leave victory late as the audacious Francois Steyn blasted over two monstrous drop-goals to seal the result. This set-up a tense encounter with arch-rivals New Zealand. The Boks were on course to seal the result before Graham Henry unloaded his bench. His fresh reserves gave New Zealand a much stronger finish which resulted in a match winning try by Fijian flyer Joe Rokocoko.
Following this test Jake announced that he would be resting his key players for the remainder of the competition. This was met with staunch criticism from their SANZAR partners which went so far as John O'Neill - Head of the Australian Rugby Union - castigated South Africa for not fielding full strength sides on their away leg. O'Neill also said the Springboks had cost Australian Rugby at least 10,000 paying customers at the test in Sydney because of their decision to leave 20 of their best players in South Africa. O'Neill was incensed by comments by Springboks coach Jake White, who said the injury to stand-in Springboks captain Bobby Skinstad justified his decision to rest leading players such as Victor Matfield, Schalk Burger and Bryan Habana. "Now you know why I didn't bring those other guys here," White said. "I could be sitting here with my front-line players out for six months." O'Neill retorted: "Some of the stuff Jake White has said are the most extraordinary of contradictions. He is basically saying that because Bobby Skinstad has a broken rib, that supports his decision to leave all the players behind. He is basically saying that his only objective this year is the World Cup. He has made it clear that whatever he has to do in between - so be it.
That said, the makeshift Springbok side made a mockery of their critics as they led a full strength Australian side 17-0 after 40 minutes. Wickus Van Heerden powering over and Breyton Paulse latching onto a wide pass by Nathan Sharpe. Hougaard missed two kickable penalties however. This was Stephen Larkham and George Gregan's final game in Australia; an emotional occasion. Thus they were not to be beaten without a fight. Australia had an attacking lineout inside South Africa's 22, they employed a deceptive play which appeared to be a forward drive with Gregan standing afar but was instead a rouse which had Larkham cut the Boks and send Mark Gerrard over for their opening points. From here the Australians showed just how dangerous thir back division could be and scored two further tries to escape an embarrassing defeat and send off their legendary heroes with a victory. The Boks went into the final game of the tournament seemingly without a hope of winning. The All Black's were deemed far too powerful for this makeshift team. That said they decided to take the fight to their hosts front the first second as JP Pietersen fielded a kick-off and ran right through several would-be tacklers. They played with greater endeavour than what was to be expected. The half-time interval saw New Zealand on fractionally ahead 6-3. New Zealand would not see their first try until eleven minutes from time when Rokocoko's flick pass found Leonard. This broke the Boks and two further tries were scored to add gloss to the final score, Carter dotting down after the hooter had sounded. It was noted that the Boks rush defence frustrated the All Blacks and prevented them from executing wider attacking plays. Breyton Paulse in particular was adept at cutting off their outside backs and limiting the All Blacks. Had Hougaard not missed two vital kicks the result may not have been so comfortable.
The Boks unfortunately ended bottom of the table, but had displayed great strength in depth and resolve. Later Eddie Jones would join the Bok camp in a consultancy capacity. He revealed that he worked on the linkage between 9 and 10 and the motion of the ball. It added a little more variety to the Boks in what was an otherwise powerful Springbok side with great skills and considerable fitness. The latter being a part of Jake's plan for the World Cup which was timed perfectly.
The Boks went into the World Cup off the back of two strong wins against Namibia and Scotland. Scotland providing very stern opposition. Captain John Smit remarked that the opening game against Samoa was the most physical he had ever played. The Samoans were full of running and put considerable strain on the Bok's defensive line. They scored the first try through Gavin Williams to bring the score to 9-7. It was an intense arm-wrestle throughout the first half in spite of Montgomery and Habana's tries which gave South Africa a 21-7 half-time lead. The second half started in much the same manner it ended; with Samoa lashing into the Boks. Jean De Villiers was taken off with a torn bicep and replaced by ans Steyn. Frans impact was immense and his first touch of the ball was the break out of his own 22 and send JP Pietersen down the touchline in a breathtaking attack. His physicality in defense of his channel and elusive power on attack seemed to lift the Springboks. He provided the assured authority that Jean was never able to provide. This combined with the Boks superior set-pieces set the tone for a ruthless demolition of Samoa. The game ended with eight tries to the Boks, a cruel end to what was a heroic showing by the Samoans. The result drew the attention of rest of the teams in the competition and it was clear the Boks had rolled up with intent. Bryan Habana's quartet of tries reflective of the Bok's willingness to attack with efficient ruthlessness.
Their next encounter was a crucial clash with World Champions England. England, now on a three game losing streak to the Boks, were on the ropes after a scrappy and poor showing against the USA. It took no longer than four minutes before Du Preez sent Juan Smith over for a try. The Boks dominated their opposition, displaying a tactically astute gameplan. Du Preez was the mastermind and he orchestrated South Africa's next try as he regathered a loose ball and tore through England's defence; he sent JP Pietersen over for his first try of the evening and later in the second half broke away on the blindside to put JP Pietersen away for his second. This victory set the tone for South Africa's triumph. They employed a strong tactical kicking game backed-up by stout defence and the best lineout in the world. With a clinical counter-attacking game the Boks were able to vary their approach and ended the year the number one ranked team in the world. Jake White resigned as coach as the team won many accolades for their achievements. Jake notably winning the IRB Coach of the Year award for his second time.
Springbok coaching record and achievements
- By year
|Year||Played||Won||Lost||Drew||Win ratio (%)|
- By Country
|Opponent||Played||Won||Lost||Drew||Win ratio (%)|
Resume and summary of achievements
Before becoming coach of South Africa:
- Jeppe High School for Boys First XV - Hooker
- Jeppe Old Boys Under 20 - Hooker
- Johannesburg College of Education First XV - Hooker
- 1982–85 Coached Park Town Boys High First XV
- 1986–94 Worked as a Physical Education teacher
- 1986–88 Coached 14a, 15a
- 1989–94 Coached Jeppe Boys High School First XV.
- Unbeaten in 1991 and 1994, beating Grey High School 46–0 in his last game as coach.
- 1995 Attended International Coaching Congress
- 1995–97 Director of Coaching for Transvaal Rugby Union
- Fitness Coach and Technical Adviser for Gauteng Lions in Super 12
- 1997 National Coaching Congress
- 2000 Assistant Coach to the Natal Sharks
- 2000–01 Springboks Assistant Coach
- Level 4 coaching certificate
White's notable achievements as Springbok head coach include:
- Winning the Tri Nations (2004)
- Winning the World Cup (2007)
- Taking South Africa from 6th on the IRB World Rankings (2003) to 1st (2007)
- IRB International Coach of the Year (2004, 2007)
- Biggest score ever achieved by a Springbok side (134-3 against Uruguay in 2005)
- First home series win against France since 1975
- First victory over the All Blacks at Newlands since 1976
- Consecutive wins against Australia and New Zealand for the first time since 1998
- Most successful South African team at home in the history of Springbok rugby, undefeated at home in 11 tests (they would extend this streak to 13)
- First South African team to beat Australia 3 times in the same year since 1971
- First South African team to beat Australia in Australia since 1998
- White, Jake; Craig Ray (2007-11-30). In Black and White: The Jake White story. Zebra Press. ISBN 1-77022-004-6.
- Brumbies accept Jake White's resignation
- "Brumbies coach made UC adjunct professor" (Press release).
- "RWC legends inducted into IRB Hall of Fame" (Press release). International Rugby Board. 2011-10-26. Retrieved 2011-10-26.
- Profile at SA Rugby
- Article about Jake White in Pretoria News
- White closes final chapter on high
- Jake White laid bare
2003 - Clive Woodward
2005, 2006 - Graham Henry
|IRB International Coach of the Year
2005, 2006 - Graham Henry
|South Africa National Rugby Union Coach
Peter de Villiers