The Vodacom Bulls will be looking for an ‘immediate impact’ as Jake White’s tenure as director of rugby begins, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
In an exclusive Zoom chat with SARugbymag.co.za, Blue Bulls president Willem Strauss said White’s appointment was seen as another key component of an important turnaround plan for the franchise.
The former World Cup-winning coach has been unable to hit the ground running in Pretoria due to the coronavirus-enforced lockdown, but he has been conducting extensive planning and recruitment behind the scenes.
Strauss said he had full confidence in White’s ‘clear strategy and vision’, but acknowledged the priority was to see a quick turnaround plan reflect in positive results.
‘If you go look at our golden years from 2006 to 2010, when we won [Vodacom] Super Rugby and Currie Cup titles, the rand was so much stronger. But even those teams were built over two/three years, and then that’s when you see a side becoming a major force.
‘Times have changed, so Jake will have less time to build, he will need to be seen to make an immediate improvement. I think we could have done even better [in Super Rugby] last year when you consider how many world-class players we had.’
Strauss added that one of the first orders of business would be to achieve success on the domestic front.
‘Sometimes there is opportunity in the chaos, and there might be a chance to get some players on board who we might not have been able to otherwise, but there is not a lot of time. Despite all the titles he’s won as a coach, though, the one thing Jake hasn’t won is the Currie Cup, so we’ve said that’s the first one we should look to win as soon as possible,’ Strauss reiterated with a laugh.
‘I’d want him to have an immediate impact, hopefully that will start with the Currie Cup if we are able to have one this year, and then next year’s competitions, too.’