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Bitter World Cup winner White announces Springbok exit

A bitter Jake White announced on Wednesday that he is to quit as coach of South Africa’s World Cup winning rugby team, accusing Springbok bosses of bouncing him out of the job.

White, who has been linked with coaching positions with rival national sides, said he would take the team to Britain next month for matches against Wales and his swan-song against the multi-national Barbarians on December 1.

“The match against the Barbarians at Twickenham will be my last as Springbok coach,” White told reporters at a press conference in Cape Town.

“I walk away with no regrets but plenty of sadness.”

White was “extremely disappointed” to have been informed via email that he would not be considered for a new contract after he failed to reapply for his job, claiming that he should not have had to put his hand up, and said he had not been given adequate time to consider his position.

“My contract as Springbok coach is clear, that I was not obliged to apply and that all considerations would be discussed at my annual review (in December when his current deal expires),” he said.

“I did ask for time to consider my options as I was mindful of making a wrong decision based on emotion. This time was not afforded me and that is particularly disappointing.”

The 43-year-old, who has been in charge of the national team since 2004, has been in hot demand with the Australian Rugby Union revealing on Tuesday that White’s agent had been in touch about the vacant Wallabies post. He has also been linked to the England and Wales coaching positions.

The South African Rugby Union is understood to be considering four candidates as coach, including former Springbok winger Chester Williams, Pretoria Blue Bulls coach Heyneke Meyer and Pieter de Villiers, who is in charge of the under-21 side.

White had long had a testy relationship with SARU bosses and was summoned back home in the middle of a tour to Britain at the end of last year to explain the team’s poor form.

SARU president Oregan Hoskins was quoted in The Star newspaper on Wednesday as saying White was trying to portray himself as a victim even though he had informed board members of his intention to quit some time back.

“Jake was seen as someone who was never prepared to give the whole story and relied on public sentiment after the World Cup to support his cause as a martyr,” said Hoskins.

“The unfortunate thing is that Jake is now portrayed as the victim and the council as a bunch of idiots who just did not like him after we won the World Cup.

“But that’s just not fair and it’s not the whole story as there are a lot of people in SA Rugby who stood by Jake and supported him during some of his darkest moments in the job.”

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