Jake’s new job leading to Lions

The biggest name to miss out on facing the Lions with his own country last time out could finally do so in his new home in two years time. [more]

Jake’s new job leading to Lions

The biggest name to miss out on facing the Lions with his own country last time out could finally do so in his new home in two years time.

Former South Africa coach Jake White quit his post with the Springboks shortly after guiding them to World Cup glory in 2007, a decision that cost him the chance to take on the Lions in 2009.

But after four years of consultancy work and largely behind the scenes roles throughout the world, White is back in full-time coaching with a team likely to be one of the Lions’ opponents the summer after next.

White has taken the reigns at Australian Super 15 franchise the Brumbies, a team who have been involved in two memorable encounters with the Lions on their most recent adventures Down Under.

Tour villain Matt Dawson kicked a last-gasp conversion to secure a stunning victory in 2001 after fellow king of controversy Austin Healy had claimed the second of his two match tries, while Donal Leinhan inspired a stirring second-half comeback that put the 1989 Lions back on track in between the first and second Tests 22 years ago.

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And while the fixtures for the 2013 tour are yet to be announced, the Brumbies look destined to be included in the list, handing White the chance to enjoy what he missed in 2009.

The Brumbies flattered to deceive in this year’s Super 15 campaign as they finished a dismal 13th and White knows there is plenty to work on in the seven months between now and the new Super Rugby season.

"I've been unofficially working behind the scenes in recruitment but it's nice to be in Canberra and to get to see the players face to face," said White, who is expecting a major change in personnel and an even bigger change in fortune next term.

"The only thing the players have got to think about is what it felt like not to do well this year. I don't want to labour too much on what happened this year because it’s irrelevant – there's a massive change in personnel and massive change in the way we will play.

"It's the first time the ARU has stipulated 30-man squads with five fringe players, it's the first time where players are all on an equal footing – some players are going to get released from other franchises and I don't want to have signed and sealed the whole squad before we know what's happening in the other squads.

"You might find that there are some players who are under contract now who aren't going to be able to renegotiate – that leaves the door open for the Brumbies.

"You'd like to think the squad will be finalised sooner rather than later, but at this stage I'm happy with where we are at with the squad."

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