Missing out on the Wallabies coaching job hasn’t tempered Jake White’s desire to return to international rugby and lead a team to the World Cup again.
The ACT Brumbies mentor confirmed on Tuesday morning the Australian Rugby Union interviewed him to be Robbie Deans’ replacement before the Wallabies’ second Test against the British and Irish Lions in Melbourne.
The ARU will announce on Tuesday afternoon that Queensland’s Ewen McKenzie will take over from Deans, who has been sacked six months before the end of his contract.
White fronted the media at Brumbies headquarters.
He admitted he was disappointed he had missed a chance to lead the Wallabies to the 2015 World Cup.
White is contracted to the Brumbies until the end of the 2015 Super Rugby season, but the ACT franchise was happy to let him leave to be the next Australian coach.
He said he was committed to remaining in Canberra until the end of his four-year deal before chasing another international job.
‘‘The ARU asked a while ago if I would be interested [in coaching the Wallabies], I’ve always been interested in returning to international rugby,’’ White said.
‘‘It hasn’t panned out, they’ve gone for Ewen and that’s fantastic. He’s got a fantastic record and I wish him all the best.
‘‘My job is to make sure the Brumbies get to a better place, everyone knows that. I’ve got a Brumbies job.’’
White led South Africa to a World Cup triumph in 2007.
But the ARU has opted to put an Australian in charge of the Wallabies after the experiment with New Zealander Deans failed.
Deans’ last night in charge was the Wallabies’ dismal loss to the Lions in the series-deciding third Test in Sydney last weekend.
McKenzie has won a World Cup as a player, was a Wallabies assistant under Rod Macqueen and Eddie Jones, coached NSW into two Super Rugby finals and led the Queensland Reds to the 2011 championship.
White was relieved a decision had been made so he could focus on the Brumbies’ finals charge.
The Brumbies resume their Super Rugby season with a clash against the Western Force in Perth on Saturday night.
‘‘It’s not so much disappointment, what’s nice is I can get on with it now,’’ White said.
‘‘There’s been a lot of speculation and anticipation … the decision is made and that gives us clarity. The players know now who the coach is and who’s going to the World Cup.
‘‘For anyone in Australian rugby there’s a bit of clarity now.’’
White said it wasn’t just a perception that McKenzie got the nod over him because of his Australian heritage.
‘‘It’s not a perception. It’s a fact,’’ White said.
‘‘It just happened. You fired the cricket coach, put an Aussie in, fired the rugby coach and put an Aussie in.
‘‘It’s not a case that I’m fearing about it. South Africa pick a South African, Kiwis pick Kiwis. England rugby pick English people to pick the team.
‘‘They’ve tried foreigners and I appreciate that. That doesn’t mean that I have to agree or disagree with it. That’s the nature of the game we’re in.’’
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.