According to his critics, Jake White’s coaching stint at a team always ends in a sudden departure before his term is over, but the well-travelled coach has found somewhere that feels like home as it was announced on Friday that his contract at the Bulls has now been extended until 2027.
White arrived at Loftus Versfeld in 2020 and immediately began turning their sagging fortunes around, winning back-to-back Currie Cup titles and Super Rugby Unlocked, before steering his team into the United Rugby Championship final, where they were pipped by the Stormers.
Now 58-years-old, White’s coaching wisdom is clearly highly valued by a Bulls union that wants to shepherd their teams back to the dominant days of old when they were the tallest trees in the forest.
“I know I’ve moved around previously,” White said on Friday, “but what I have here in terms of the CEO, the board, players of the calibre of Johan Grobbelaar, Elrigh Louw, Canan Moodie and Johan Goosen who have signed until 2026, it works.
Also read: Springbok flank returns to Bulls ahead of new URC season
“The expectation is that we will continue to grow. I’ve coached around the world and you know when you’ve got the right mix. I always thought I would find that dream job and maybe I chased things a bit when I was younger.
“Staying five more years in Pretoria is a perfect fit for me. We have the same vision, there will be continuity. It’s working and I’m enjoying it. Loftus is my home, it’s a strong union that wants to win.
“I want to be part of a group of winners, there are unbelievable schools and supporters here. Loftus is a lekker plek, it’s like the head office of rugby,” White said.
Top-class coach after a lean period
After a lean period that lasted a decade, the Bulls board know they now have a top-class coach and a brilliant team with prospects of getting even better, so giving White a three-year extension was a no-brainer.
“It’s with great excitement that we can announce Jake has extended his contract until June 2027, so that’s an additional three years, which we are absolutely ecstatic about,” CEO Edgar Rathbone said.
“The work Jake has done over the past two years has been unbelievable and a bunch of players have also committed long-term, so we are trying to give ourselves stability.
“Every competition we play in, we want to win. It’s been a building process and we hope to build on that still further. Jake brings the youngsters and the older players together in a high-performing system.
“For every Bulls supporter, winning and traditional values are incredibly important, as is how important the home ground is. We get all of that in Jake White,” Rathbone said.
Also read: Squad depth key for SA teams in next URC season, says boss Anayi