Rugby

'Rich bloke' saved Jake White from the sack

21 October 2018 - 00:00 By The Daily Telegraph


England rugby coach Eddie Jones has given a reason why Jake White was not sacked as Springbok coach ahead of the 2007 Rugby World Cup that his team went on to win.
Jones was an assistant to White at the tournament.
In an interview ahead of England's four difficult Test matches next month and with the World Cup looming next year, Jones recalled White's rags to riches rugby story of 2007 to make a point about England's possible resurrection in 2019.
In 2007 the Springboks were "getting pumped every game", said Jones.
"Jake White gets told he's going to be sacked, is called home and he's like the schoolboy outside the principal's office.
"A certain bloke with a lot of money sends a fax to the [SA Rugby] offices saying 'you sack him and you lose all your sponsorship', so Jake gets a reprieve," said Jones.
Jones did not identify the mystery man, but it's now history that the Boks went on to win the World Cup, beating England in the final.
Possibly Jones sees himself in White's position as England, with only one victory in their last six Test matches, are facing a gruelling November.
Beginning with a Test against the Springboks on November 3, England will play the All Blacks, Japan and the Wallabies on successive Saturdays.
"We don't need to win any of them," said Jones on next month's games. "[But] if we don't win any, I'm probably not going to be here."
Jones has lost 320 caps from his frontline squad, forcing him to select eight uncapped players in the 36-man squad.
"My job is to maximise what I have," said Jones. "What I've learned about World Cups is that the only time you need to be at your best is at the World Cup," said Jones, who has been to three World Cups with three different teams. He was coach of the 2003 Australian team who were beaten by England in the final, and of Japan in 2015, who shocked the Boks in the opening match.
"All the leading up to it is sparring, practice rounds, getting combinations right. So as long as we've got in our head that we know what the team is - and we do - then we'll be all right.
"We need our best players to be fit for the crux games, which are going to be in the later rounds of the pool.
"Of course we want to win every game but the reality is that sometimes you don't. What's important is that you keep moving forward and sometimes the scoreboard doesn't tell you you're moving forward."
Jones has managed to make that sort of marginal progression by naming Dylan Hartley and Owen Farrell as co-captains.
"It is a great fit and the idea became a no-brainer," said Jones, who saw how well Farrell operated in SA this year during Hartley's concussion-enforced absence.
"It used to be called captain and vice-captain. I prefer co-captains.
"The first Wallaby side I coached had [lock] John Eales as captain and [scrumhalf] George Gregan as vice-captain. Who spoke to the referee more? George Gregan. Who was more influential in the team? George Gregan. Who was one of the greatest captains of all time? John Eales.

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