Jake White

Jake White

Jake White, appointed Springbok coach on Friday 13th February 2004, reached the pinnacle of his international coaching career by guiding South Africa to World Cup success in 2007. As well as winning the prestigious RWC the Springboks won the IRB Team of the year, White was named IRB Coach of the year and Bryan Habana was named IRB Player of the year for 2007.

White recorded the double after his U21 squad won the world title in 2002, a feat no other coach has achieved.

White, 46, is the first Springbok coach to come through the ranks at all levels, which has given him a unique insight into the country’s rugby structures.

Winning is a rare commodity in South Africa today and the country desperately needs someone who has proven that he can win, and instill winning in others, as White has done.

He was involved, as assistant coach, with the Springboks in 29 Test matches, of which only five resulted in defeat.  His record with the national U21 side is even more impressive, with only two losses in 15 starts.

White was first honoured by world rugby when he was named the IRB Coach of the Year 2004.  In the same year the Springboks won the Tri-Nations for the first time since 1998.  The team won the IRB Team of the Year, and bright young star Schalk Burger won the most prestigious award of IRB Player of the Year under the tutelage of White.

He started his career as a coach at Parktown Boys’ and Jeppe High School for Boys before progressing to become the provincial schools coach. After this, he coached various varsity sides at U19 and 21 level. Even at this level, White’s technical prowess was well known and he assisted the World Cup winning Springboks with video analysis in 1995.

After the success of ’95, White assisted various senior sides in a technical capacity. He also quickly progressed from coaching the Lions’ U21 side to the national setup where coached the national side for two years running, winning the inaugural IRB U21 Rugby World Championship in 2002.

In his presentation to the SARU assessment committee, White stressed that the country definitely possessed the players to be successful at the highest level. What he hoped to instill was a clear pattern of play that he believed had been lacking.

With 28 years of coaching experience under his belt, White says that he has not forgotten the old school values of tradition and discipline.

These values were prominent in his four-year tenure as Springbok coach. He brought back many of the traditions lost in previous years.  During his time, White was voted IRB coach of the year twice, guided the Springboks to a Tri-Nations trophy and won the Rugby World Cup in 2007.

His Springboks enjoyed a 70 percent success rate and in his four years White’s Boks beat every team. He was also at the helm of the Springboks when they won for the first time at Twickenham in 10 years – and when the Boks beat England at the World Cup he had completed four additional successive wins within a year. His one disappointment during his tenure was that his team never managed to beat the old foe, the All Blacks, in New Zealand.

Jake and members of the RWC winning team were honoured at the prestigious Laureas Sport Awards in St Petersburg, Russia, when they won Team of the year for 2007 and received the award in February 2008.  Members of the squad spent the day in the company of Shane Warne, Roger Federer and Lewis Hamilton to name but a few of the sports personalities attending the awards.

White’s life story, ‘In Black and White’, released after the Springboks’ World Cup win, is currently the biggest selling book in South African history.

White in 2004 summarized his vision for the future of the national side in four points:

  • Adapting to the changes in the game,
  • Knowledge that we have the necessary talent
  • Continuity of selection
  • Good technical, physical and mental preparation


“Today’s problems cannot be solved with yesterday’s solutions,” said White.

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