JAKE WHITE’s Departure – Strange Feeling and Australian Coaching Uncovered!

Hi Everyone,

The sudden (or unexpected departure of Jake White from the ACT Brumbies has left some people dumbfounded, others wondering about the future, others felt it was a weird experience that when the coach had everything humming (except the trophy) he packed up his light luggage and took a nostalgic trip to re-charge his batteries in South Africa.

He certainly received a lot of plaudits and compliments form the Brumbies Brigade and supporters for the excellent work done in short time. Nonetheless, I’d like to be the cynic or realist to balance the colours of this rugby palette. In my modest opinion this situation in a way reflects the state of Australian Rugby (not very good and of course it can improve!) Once read: “there is no pest that would last 99 years or a person that would endure it”

Jake White is a very good proven Professional Coach (BTW human too) and I’m sure (albeit not certain) he got rewarded handsomely for his services. The fact that Ewen McKenzie started his tenure with 3 “shockers” and a win makes JW look even better.

Now if a bloke gets selected and contracted to do a job, that’s what he did, nothing fanciful about it a very good coach indeed. However, because we are not used to see guys of that calibre in our shores. Furthermore people at Monaro Way (quite rightly so) have thrown the accolades and a Mexican wave or two celebrating JW’s achievements. It comes to mind that we’ve been imposed and exposed upon for 6 long years to a NZ coach that failed to deliver on his promises (and it was his bottom line not any other) and a CEO that was at loggerheads in retaining a losing coach, WHY? Thus, JW as a RWC winning coach also looks a lot better now.

I bet you in NZ they will have about 10 JW’s and also know the differences between a good coach and a Fake Jake. They just have been damn unlucky and victims of their own success and didn’t touch the WWE trophy for 24 years but at the same time they continue having the BEST depth in world rugby that eventually made them win in 2011. We had 2 RWC’s in our cabinet and no depth, and here we are talking about different types of competitions, tiers and tears!

If Australian Rugby didn’t stop the “production line” of potential national coaches we would have been able to retain many that for that reason went coaching overseas! See, we not only stopped 2 or 3 coaches not getting the top job but probably 15-20 apprentices that went coaching all over the world. Isn’t that a lack of strategic vision? Did we ever have one? I’m afraid to say the Australian Rugby Titanic has been sailing without a rudder for loooooooong time! Any corrective action taken yet?

We had roughly since 1995 a substandard and inadequate National Coaches Development program which has failed time and time again to improve coaching standards in this country. Again the big problem is that veil of exclusivity and discrimination in which things have been run for too long. I know from a fact that another ex Wallaby and myself, also a School Coach were denied some years ago entry to the Level III Coaching courses. So, I can conclude thought I was RED marked: (NTCA = Not To Coach Again) by some small minded individual(s), and there you have it. Where is the Australian fair go? Where is the egalitarian country………………..?

Let’s face it, if we truly want to improve in rugby we need to invest time and work like any other country in world rugby on “grassroots” that feed club, Super 15 and Internationals. It is amazing we have so many educated and intelligent people in rugby, yet when it comes to their beloved sport their brains go “walkabout” preferring a political stoush at board level that probably gives them an erection that can’t have at home.

Rugby once and for all needs to make a huge turn into an inclusive sport (that means not only the GPS schools get preferential treatment. That means when Australian Rugby needs a particular person for a job, they don’t go single picking, you advertise widely to the public and let the lot to apply on their merits! So, I propose: meritocracy Yes, aristocracy No!

Thank you guys and gals, feel a bit lighter now,

Enrique TOPO Rodriguez


About toporod

Triple Rugby Union International (1977-1991) The ART of SCRUMMAGING - 2013 Gold Medal Winning Author - [IPPY] - 2014 Silver Medal Winner [eLit Awards] - Enthusiastic writer on Rugby and Bipolar Disorders - International Rugby Consultant and Public Speaker - www.expertrugbyconsultants.com
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2 Responses to JAKE WHITE’s Departure – Strange Feeling and Australian Coaching Uncovered!

  1. sheek says:

    Gidday Topo,

    What was one of your favourite coaches – ABJ – sayings: “The dogs bark but the caravan moves on.”

    Except that the caravan (Australian rugby) is broken down & the dogs continue to bark around it. But no-one is making much sense.

    You get into a lot of trouble these days if you dare show yourself to be anything but a martyred, loyal, long-suffering devotee of the Wallabies & Australian rugby. Don’t criticise, even constructively.

    Just endure, like a devoted puppy dog & God will provide, or something…..

    Or just dabble around on the surface, don’t dig too deep. Change the coach (uh huh) , change the no.10, change the no.9, change the fullback, swap the props. Just cosmetic changes.

    Now even an eminent person like David Lord is talking about changing the captain.

    Meanwhile, our dysfunctional domestic structures get little press. Some people’s ideas of progressing Australian rugby is through the Shute Shield & Hospital’s Cup. Or more simply, build a national comp around Sydney University.

    Gee, they’re great ideas to get more players & fans into rugby. Not!

    And we haven’t even started on schoolboys rugby, especially Sydney GPS, which is degenerating into a joke.

    Even your native Argentina has a better domestic structure than Australia. They have BOTH a national provincial comp & a national clubs comp.

    Once the Pumas have served their apprenticeship in the Rugby Championship & become accustomed to the pace & rhythm of southern hemisphere rugby, they will be better placed to move past Australia due to their superior domestic structures.

    I honestly don’t know how much further the Wallabies have to free-fall before the wise monkeys at fortress ARU say, “enough is enough.”

    • toporod says:

      Hi Sheek, Happy and Healthy 2014 to you. Was just tyding things up with my blog and realised didn’t even say “thanks mate” which is not me, but have just now done it! – I’m simply not worrying any more about that thing called “rugby”, am trying to get more sense and meaning on life on other horizons or ponds. Cheers, TOPO

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