Jake faces huge task, Rathbone - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Jake faces huge task, Rathbone

Jim Morton and Darren Walton 28/04/2011 03:41:48 PM Comments (0)

South African-born former Wallabies flyer Clyde Rathbone believes Jake White faces a tougher task turning around the Brumbies than he did transforming the Springboks into world champions.

Rathbone captained the South African under-21s to the 2002 world title under White's coaching and on Thursday hailed his former mentor's four-year Brumbies appointment.

But the winger, who played 52 Super Rugby games for the Brumbies and 26 Tests for Australia after emigrating, warned White faced a more difficult job in Canberra than he did with the Springboks in 2004.

White took the helm of South Africa when the traditional rugby powerhouse was a basket-case following a disastrous 2003 World Cup campaign and chronic internal problems.

He quickly led the Boks to the 2004 Tri-Nations title and then went on to win the 2007 World Cup in France.

"I think it's a good move by the Brumbies - there's not a lot of quality coaches looking around for a job at the moment," Rathbone told AAP. "But I think it's going to be a fairly tough challenge for Jake.

"He's got a record of (turning teams around) but it's probably tougher to be honest.

"You're not necessarily getting the cream of the crop at the Brumbies as with the Springboks.

"It's a challenge to recruit world-class players to Canberra and also develop that sort of talent in a short time."

The Brumbies have enjoyed just two wins from eight matches this season and are just a shadow of the franchise that won the 2001 and 2004 titles with the nucleus of the Wallabies squad.

"It's not just about where the Brumbies are (presently) it's also where the other states like Queensland and NSW are at the moment," Rathbone said. "The talent is far more dispersed than it was a few years ago.

"Australian rugby has been operating above their weight for a long time and the Brumbies are a microcosm of that.

"The corporate backing in this town is not as big as Sydney or Melbourne so to be able to have the success they did was quite remarkable."

While White's first job is trying to lure Wallabies whiz-kid James O'Connor from Perth, Rathbone rated Christian Lealiifano one of the best young playmakers in the competition and saw him filling the boots of France-bound Matt Giteau.

The Brumbies play the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein this weekend and the Sharks in Durban next round, but White has no plans to hover like the Grim Reaper in the background while Tony Rea remains in charge.

"I'll watch them on TV," White said from his home near Cape Town.

"I don't want to be seen as interfering, I don't want to be seen as Big Brother looking over the shoulder.

"It's only fair on the incumbent that he's there to be given space and an opportunity to do the best he can."

White is likely to be in the national capital for the Brumbies' round-13 home clash with the Lions on May 14 and will settle permanently in Canberra in July.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

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