South Africa coach Jake White has pledged his loyalty to the Springboks, but refused to look past Saturday’s Test against France as speculation about his future grows.
Several newspapers in South Africa had reported that White was due to extend his contract with the world’s second-ranked team until 2009, but Friday morning’s press conference was cancelled, sparking speculation that White would take up one of a number of overseas offers.
White held a separate press conference ahead of Saturday’s Test, and refused to be drawn on the matter.
"There have been negotiations going forward with SA Rugby but there are opportunities for me abroad," he said.
"My loyalties lie with the Springboks. I don’t know what the press conference was (due to be) about and my focus at the moment is on the French Test.
"I’ll focus everything I can between now and [Saturday] on France. I have got to focus on the Bok team and the Test. I don’t want to look back and say I had other things on my mind.
"Obviously there’s opportunities [abroad], and like anything in professional sport, you have to see if you’re going to move on or stay. Without labouring on that point, we have to focus on France.
"It is only fair on the players that I give them that opportunity and that we focus on this Test match."
White had spoken to SA Rugby bosses on Thursday and his future was expected to be resolved before Saturday’s Test in Cape Town.
However, a statement from the national body read: "Due to the fact that the Board of SA Rugby could not complete their deliberations by close of business on Thursday, the media conference that was scheduled for Friday has been cancelled."
The expected extension would have guaranteed White his job from the end of the 2007 World Cup until the British & Irish Lions tour in 2009.
National team manager Andy Marinos confirmed White’s job was on the agenda at the board meeting and that he was free to negotiate with other parties, but denied a decision was taken.
"Jake’s contract was an item on the agenda in Thursday’s meeting but it is the President’s Council that makes the decision according to the constitution," he said.
"The matter will be referred to the President’s Council in due course. We have been in discussions about extending Jake’s contract and it is a case of forward thinking about management and keeping the current core players for 2009."
White has taken the Springboks from their low point of sixth in world rugby after the 2003 World Cup to winning the 2004 Tri-Nations.
They are currently on a 13-match unbeaten run on home soil.