Top 14
Jake White 'signs six-month deal' with Montpellier
ESPN Staff
December 29, 2014
The Brumbies' Ben Mowen and Jake White reflect on their win in Pretoria, Bulls v Brumbies, Super Rugby, Super Rugby semi-final, Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, July 27, 2013
Ben Mowen and Jake White enjoyed an excellent working relationship in Canberra © Getty Images

Rugby World Cup-winning coach Jake White has signed a six-month contract to improve the fortunes of struggling French Top 14 side Montpellier, L'Equipe has reported.

Montpellier, coached by Fabien Galthie, an aspirant for the France job should Philippe Saint-Andre quit after the 2015 Rugby World Cup, are eighth in the Top 14 standings, two positions outside the post-season play-offs and 13 points off leaders Stade Francais. But they are already out of the European Champions Cup, having lost all four of their pool matches, and they ended a seven-match losing streak dating back to October 11 only on Saturday - when they recorded a narrow victory over Toulouse. That victory seemingly proved to be a blip, however, as they slumped to a 27-9 thumping by bottom-placed Castres on Sunday.

"White is coming with a view to being in charge of the team completely," L'Equipe quoted a club source as saying. "He will be above Galthie. He will have the role of manager, that is what has been negotiated."

The club, for whom former Brumbies and Australia captain Ben Mowen plays, was first linked with White in November, when The Australian reported that former Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie was also a candidate for the position.

Galthie, who has guided the team from nowhere to becoming a regular contender for the French title, taking them to the 2011 Top 14 final after coaching his first club, Stade Francais, to the 2005 French championship and European Cup final, said he had no news to share on the report. "I don't have any information," he said. "For now I can't comment on that, I'm not going to do anything silly. Wait for things to happen. Everything in its own good time. I'll talk to you about it when he's here."

But L'Equipe quoted a friend of the coach as saying "Galthie has the feeling that they want to make him so disgusted that he leaves and therefore is less costly to them in terms of a pay-out".

White, a two-time IRB World Coach of the Year, has held coaching posts with the Brumbies and the Sharks in Super Rugby since winning the 2007 Rugby World Cup with South Africa, improving the fortunes of both franchises. He was, however, overlooked for the Australia Test job in 2013 and is currently acting as a technical advisor to Tonga's national team.

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