Rugby World Cup
Jake White: I could win Rugby World Cup with England
PA Sport
November 13, 2015

Jake White has claimed he could win the Rugby World Cup with England, but refused to apply for the vacant head coach's role.

Former South Africa boss White confirmed he had previously been turned down for England's top job twice, and has ruled out chasing the post again.

The 2007 World Cup-winning coach insisted he could not stomach submitting his CV to England again, after also missing out on a management role in 2008.

White insisted the only way he would succeed Stuart Lancaster was if the Rugby Football Union (RFU) chased his services, and not the other way around.

"Since I finished with the Springboks I have always made it clear I have a burning desire to win another World Cup," said White after his Montpellier side crashed to 41-18 at Harlequins.

"I can win the World Cup for England. I would never be saying that I was keen on the job if I did not believe I could do it. I have not been approached by anyone, everything is just speculation. I have been in this [situation] three times already.

"When Rob Andrew got his role I was on the short list, when Martin Johnson got picked I was on the short list, when Lancaster got picked I was on the short list. It is no use me sitting here saying 'what if'."

Lancaster relinquished his head coach role by mutual consent on Wednesday, the RFU launching a global search for a new boss with "proven international experience".

No sooner had that recruitment drive begun, though, than two of the leading contenders distanced themselves from the vacant role. Eddie Jones and Wayne Smith both claimed they had no interest in any advances from England, despite the RFU vowing to break the bank with the cash offer for their new appointment.

White insisted on Thursday that he had not been subject to any approach from the RFU, but would only be ready to take control if courted.

"If you are the right man for the job there should be no process," said White. "If they believe you are the right guy that gives coaches confidence.

"You had to send your CV in and go through the whole interview process in the past. Nothing has changed since then for me. I am who I am and I have coached who I have coached.

"My CV stands itself. Getting England to win a World Cup is basically what it is. The jewel in the crown is the World Cup."

South Africa head coach Jake White poses with the Rugby World Cup
South Africa head coach Jake White poses with the Rugby World Cup© Julian Finney/Getty Images

While White remains a clear bookmakers' favourite, Australian Jones and New Zealander Smith have also been strongly backed.

Jones took Australia to the 2003 Rugby World Cup final, when they were beaten by Sir Clive Woodward's England after extra-time, and he inspired a memorable 2015 World Cup campaign for Japan that included toppling South Africa in scintillating fashion.

Jones, 55, was unveiled as head coach of Cape Town-based Super Rugby franchise the Stormers on Thursday.

Smith, meanwhile, plans to take a break from rugby after being part of the New Zealand coaching staff that oversaw World Cup final glory at Twickenham just 12 days ago.

"I am being clear with everyone that I'm not coaching full-time in 2016," Smith, 58, told the BBC. "I've had 29 years in the game as a coach and it's time for a break."

Ritchie's desire is for the new boss to have international experience, which would appear to suggest the overseas market will be England's stopping point.

The likes of current Australia coach Michael Cheika, Wales boss Warren Gatland and ex-South Africa chief Nick Mallett have also been mentioned as possible candidates.

But, while England could now see a first foreign head coach installed after Lancaster paid the price for a dismal World Cup campaign that produced a painful pool stage exit, the contentious overseas player selection policy is set to stay.

It is understood there are currently no plans to change England's approach. It remains with an "exceptional circumstances" clause, covering areas such as injuries, suspensions and sudden retirements.

© PA Sport

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