White has rubbed off on Umaga: Toulon - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

White has rubbed off on Umaga: Toulon

17/12/2008 09:57:52 AM Comments (0)

South Africa's 2007 World Cup-winning coach Jake White's short stay as consultant to French championship strugglers Toulon has had a beneficial impact on coach Tana Umaga, claimed the club president on Tuesday.

The South African - who stepped down after guiding the Springboks to World Cup glory over England last year - had been hired for just under a week by Mourad Boudjellal to see if he could point out the problems that have seen Toulon make a less than impressive return to the championship and has them lying third from bottom after 12 matches.

However, Boudjellal said that one of the benefits of hiring White - who left on Saturday following Toulon's 30-9 European Challenge Cup victory over Montpellier after just six days instead of the two weeks he was meant to spend there - had been to buck up All Black legend Umaga.

"I have the feeling that he (Umaga) took on board the observations of Jake White," commented Boudjellal, who has spent fortunes on bringing in big names, including former Canterbury Bulldogs NRL star Sonny Bill Williams, to the club in a bid to first gain promotion and then challenge for the French title.

"I find that Umaga is much more involved in recent days, he has really taken charge of the group."

Other recommendations from White - who has performed a similar role at English Premiership side Saracens where his good friend former Wallabies mentor Eddie Jones is coach - were that the infrastructure at the club were not those of a Championship one.

The Toulon council have taken on board this and are presently working on establishing a training ground on the outskirts of the city, though, this will take several years to fulfil.

White also recommended that the playing staff be vastly reduced from the 50 that are presently training together as he said that was far too many and hindered the quality of the squad.

Boudjellal said he had taken note of that and would reduce the squad for next season.

"He also suggested among other things that to retain our place among the elite there should be changes in the organisation of the training sessions," said Boudjellal.

"That will not be so easy to put in place."

Aside from that White drew up a plan to recruit young South African players to place in the juniors training system at Toulon.

Boudjellal, though, said he would be recruiting a player of some stature to act as a father figure for the players, but added that he would give the squad some time to prove themselves.

"I will do as the staff ask of me and we are first of all going to give a chance to several players.

"If they don't take those chances, then we will look elsewhere."

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