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‘It’s one of my biggest regrets’ World Cup winning coach Jake White

BY Philip Bendon  ·  Tuesday Oct 24, 2023

2007 Rugby World Cup winning Springbok coach Jake White is one of Rugby’s great journeymen.

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Achieving success at every stop, the 59-year-old is now in charge of United Rugby Championship side the Vodacom Bulls.

Making the final in the tournament’s inaugural season, the Bulls would slip to a quarterfinal loss in the 2022/23 season.

Life Altering Decision

In a reflective mood, White recently revealed a previously unknown bit of information that could have had a wide-reaching effect on international rugby.

“I was tapped on the shoulder for the Wales job and perhaps my biggest mistake was not taking it.

“David Pickering (then WRU chairman) asked me about the Wales job in 2007 and, in hindsight, I regret saying no.

“It was a great opportunity and I didn’t realise at the time, but I haven’t worked in international rugby since then. I was only 43 and never thought I would be finished in [Test] rugby.

“Who knows what might have happened had I taken it but I can’t rewind the clock. Things twist and turn and life moves on. But I will always have great memories of Welsh rugby, the incredible players it has produced, the rugby culture and the people involved.”

The Gatland Effect

As Rugby fans know, New Zealander Warren Gatland would take over the Welsh job following their 2007 Rugby World Cup group exit.

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Gatland would guide the Welsh to two Rugby World Cup semi-finals and four Six Nations titles.

In addition to his achievements with Wales, Gatland has gone on to achieve immense success with the British and Irish Lions including a series win in Australia, a drawn series in New Zealand and a 2 – 1 loss to South Africa.

In recent weeks, Gatland has said he is committed to helping rebuild Welsh Rugby which has endured several off-field issues which has seriously affected the on-field element of the sport.

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