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Cabbages & Kings: Jake

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Political agendas, personal vendettas, pathetically incompetent management and emotional issues aside, the departure of Jake White may not be such a disastrous episode in the future of Springbok rugby. 

And while this "treasonous" view may fly in the face of the web site just launched in an effort to hammer home a message to rugby’s bungling administrators and as a belated but futile attempt to get Jake White reinstated (see IT-Online – 5 November) , there is justifiable logic why he may not necessarily be the best man for the job if we are going to successfully defend our World Cup crown.
The logic starts by having to accept that a time comes in the cycle of leadership for people to move on. Most so-called democratic governments around the world as well as honourable political parties and even more enlightened sporting organisations acknowledge this and have iron-clad constitutions in place that limit the period that a "head honcho" can hold office.
When this philosophy is not adhered to, you end up with a recipe for disaster – as illustrated by Robert Mugabe in the case of Zimbabwe.
In a similar vein and in Jake’s case there are some compelling reasons why he should bow out at the top and not continue as national coach – for his own benefit as well as in the best interests of the national team.
While Jake may not necessarily have reached his "sell-by date" there is little doubt that he is at the end of an era – an era that he has been intimately involved with for almost a decade.
Victory in France was more than the culmination of four years of planning as national coach. His involvement with the "Baby Boks" for a couple of years leading up to his appointment provided a unique foundation for him to build on.
With retirements and "professional defections" and a squad that in four years time is unlikely to bear much resemblance to the one that played in France and that he "grew up" with, Jake could be lost without this "history" and find himself on a "level playing field" with little more to offer or work with than any of the other candidates.
That’s not to say that Jake should be discarded. His immense experience and unquestionable talents for coaching and motivation should be harnessed by the rugby authorities in other ways.
The fact that he is reported to be exploring a possible appointment as England coach and is doing so through Rob Andrew as the RFU "director of elite rugby" suggests that a post could be created for White in South Africa that helps to guarantee he is not lost to the sport.
The real tragedy is that the farcical and vindictive way the national coaching job was handled probably means that all trust and respect between Jake and the rugby administrators has been totally destroyed – that no-one will back down for the "good of the game" and that Jake will be lost to South African rugby.