Jake White Spending Spree

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Jun 28, 2020, 22:12

'Mr Fixit' Jake White hopes spending spree can lift Bulls from doldrums

Jake White (Steve Haag/Gallo Images)
Jake White (Steve Haag/Gallo Images)

Rugby World Cup-winning coach Jake White has embarked on the biggest modern-era South African spending splurge as he seeks to make the Bulls a powerhouse again.

The Pretoria team were the dominant southern hemisphere franchise between 2007 and 2010, winning three of the four Super Rugby competitions during that period.

Loftus Versfeld, the 50,000-seat fortress of the Bulls in a leafy suburb, was the scene of the many great triumphs, notably a 61-17 thrashing of the Chiefs in the 2009 final.

The ground was regularly packed as adoring supporters turned up to watch stars like flyhalf Derick Hougaard, scrumhalf Fourie du Preez and locks Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha.

It was a very different story this year in Super Rugby, however, before the coronavirus pandemic brought the five-nation competition to a close after just seven rounds.

A Bulls side shorn of stars like playmaker Handre Pollard, who moved abroad after helping South Africa win the World Cup a third time last November, lost five of six matches.

The packed stands at Loftus were a distant memory with only a few thousand hard-core supporters turning up to witness one inept display after another.

It left the three-time champions 12th in the overall standings and hopes of a top-eight finish and a quarter-finals slot already gone less than halfway through the regular season.

Something had to give and coach Pote Human was fired, paving the way for the 'Mr Fixit' of rugby, White, to take control last March and immediately embark on a signing spree.

"We need to rebuild a winning culture at Loftus," White, 56, told AFP. "Winning matches will bring thousands of supporters back.

"It will not be an easy task as the team has been struggling for some time, but we are up for it."

White has hired a flood of experienced players, many of them former Springboks who opted to return home from Europe and Japan and spend the twilight of their careers in Pretoria.

The backs who were bought include Gio Aplon and Travis Ismaeil, both past 30 but with a lot to still offer, according to White, who coached the 2007 World Cup-winning Springboks.

To bolster the pack he wooed World Cup winner Duane Vermeulen back to South Africa after the forward spent a year cashing in on the riches of Japanese club rugby.

Arno Botha, Nizaam Carr, Sintu Manjezi, Marcel van der Merwe and Walt Steenkamp have also been signed to create a virtual new Bulls pack for the post-coronavirus pandemic era.

It was not one-way traffic toward the Loftus changing rooms though with backs Warrick Gelant, Johnny Kotze, Manie Libbok, Divan Rossouw and Rosko Specman leaving.

South Africa-born former Scotland loose forward Josh Strauss was the latest departee after failing to make an impact in Super Rugby this season.

There were also coaching changes, notably the hiring of Russell Winter and the recall of former Bulls Super Rugby handler Nollis Marais.

Once dismissed by a rival coach as nothing more than a "video operator at training sessions", White has succeeded wherever he has worked.

Assisted by wily Australian Eddie Jones, he guided the Springboks to 2007 World Cup glory with a 15-6 final triumph over England in Paris.

Told to reapply for his national team post by officials he did not click with, White refused and Peter de Villiers became the first black coach of the Springboks.

He later dramatically improved the Super Rugby fortunes of the Brumbies in Australia and the Sharks in his homeland, taking both to the knockout stages.

White won the second-tier European Rugby Challenge Cup with French outfit Montpellier and later coached Toyota Verblitz in Japan.

When Verblitz hired outgoing New Zealand coach Steve Hansen this year, White came home and after talks with PRO14 strugglers the Southern Kings, agreed to join the Bulls.

Forwards coach Winter is convinced White can make the Bulls a force to reckon with again in Super Rugby.

"We should never be shy of touting the South African style of play. When I coach forwards, I want them to play to their strengths -- a brutal, confrontational type of game.

"South African forwards are naturally attuned to that way of playing and it can work so well for us."

No rugby has been played in South Africa since mid-March because of the Covid-19 crisis and the most optimistic date for a resumption of matches is August.

SA Rugby hopes to stage a domestic Super Rugby competition, similar to the one already underway in New Zealand, with Australia set to follow suit in July.


He has not done much recruitment of backline players, and they are weaker than before Jake White arrived with the loss of Specman, Gelant and Libbock - all skilful players. He has the geriatric Aplon who can be much more than an on-field backline coach.

Morne Shit Stain is still involved. 

Has Jake White already dealt his hand and confirmed he is going to be play Bulls 10 man rugby. Will he be a Meyer clone that will be dependent on building a bigger pack like the Bulls 2010 team.

Jun 29, 2020, 00:25

Meyer is the most tactically versatile coach of Bull and Bok rugby history, building an all round team - though Ludeke must be credited for evolving the team after the ELVs and even keeping the side punching above its weight as it lost huge numbers of stars.

Jake is a master coach. He has an unmatched record in leaving every organisation he is involved in, in better condition than when he arrived. 

Those who spout "10 man Bulls" of the Meyer era onwards have no understanding of how those Bulls sides played. They also never correctly identify the many different approaches and styles of those sides. The 2009 side, which is most criticised for "kicking" andd supposed 10 man rugby had a line break to try ratio of 2:1, one of the most efficient teams in Super rugby history.

There is a team that mirrors another team that does play bland rugby. 10 man rugby...

Jun 29, 2020, 00:30

The Bulls pack that Meyer had was better than the pack of most test sides in the world. 

The pack moored the opposition into submission. By the time they spread the ball wide, half the backline of the opposition had been sucked in. Most attack was from broken play. 

Also, Fourie Dupreez was the real brains along with some of the players. Meyer and Ludeke just focussed on the forwards and defence. 

Jake White is a good coach, but sometimes he is better at getting the opposition to play worse. Instead of scoring more points, it is about letting the opposition score fewer points. 
Jake White has a good track record where ever he goes. His teams always finish near the top. 

Heineken Meyer was hopeless at Stade De Francis. I doubt we will hear much from him again.

Jun 29, 2020, 09:59


Meyer was the most useless coach the Springboks ever had - evidence he was fired by Stade Francais due to gross incompetence.   He never had a game plan and when it came to backline play it was grossly poor.  In his first year he played Steyn 8 times at flyhalf - in 2013 it was in all 12 tests and in 2014 in 3 tests.   Steyn was a totally clueless flyhalf sabotaging Springbok backline play.   

By 2014 he started using Pollard and nearly killed him with a game plan that neutralizes backline play.   Du Preez was part of the problem.  If one analyzes the backline performances under Meyer it was Du Preez passing 70% of the ball to players other than the flyhalf in the WC  in 2015 and effectively only passed balls to Pollard to kick - a game the Bulls used under Meyer in 2004 and 2005,

White is a good coach with serious backline deficiencies.   At the Brumbies  he did well with a  proper backline coach.   In the case of both the Sharks and Montpellier he was deficient in respect of backline play and using F Steyn at flyhalf and center never helped any team in backline performance. Even though he won the 2007 WC as coach  - the game plan had been sub-standard and the problem was that even though the forwards did not match the English, the backline produced nothing of consequence in the  final.

Comparing the 2007 lucky win final with 2019 is like comparing day and night when it comes to all-round backline performances.   In all respects the Springbok forwards were supreme and their backline players were much more dangerous and effective even scoring two tries - in which forwards also played  key roles. 

White will do quite well for the Bulls - he has ample financial back-up from the majority owners and will be able to get players he needs for his purpose.   However, I would love to se an improvement in backline coaching as well.                                

Jun 29, 2020, 10:07


Jun 29, 2020, 19:32

Useless Meyer was never on the same page as the rugby astute Rassie when it comes to tactical versatility

Meyer had no versatility at all and his tactics were utterly flawed - he was a Bok flop

As for Whites buys - most are poorly thought out.

They never needed a prop they have Nqoboka and Nyakane but have brought Marcel vd Merwe back - great player but what’s the point?

Bringing 38 year old Aplon back is insulting

They then buy 3 eight men in Vermeulen. Carr and Arno Botha - where is the sense in that?

Jun 30, 2020, 00:57

Well, here are the forwards that won the 2007 Super Rugby title: 

  1. Gurthro Steenkamp
  2. Gary Botha
  3. Rayno Gerber
  4. Bakkies Botha
  5. Victor Matfield
  6. Pedrie Wannenburg
  7. Wikus van Heerden
  8. Pierre Spies
According to many Gurthro was a fat non-entity; how many here even know who Rayno is? The locks are elite. The back row is nothing special. 

Having forward dominance is one part of the puzzle. The 2007 Bulls side a good attacking side too, after the adjustments in 2008, they became a complete side again. Meyer's teams were always well-rounded. Ludeke carried on that good work for a number of years. 

Jake, over his four year tenure, scored one try less than the All Blacks scored against his Boks. He was mere minutes away from two unbeaten years and two consecutive titles. Jake is a coach who builds a system that makes use of the personnel at hand. His Brumbies employed a fetcher, and they were lethal attackers; the Sharks utilized their power up front to shield their immobility, yet were very good on attack in the early rounds and under Frans at 10. 

Jun 30, 2020, 01:01

Gurthro Steenkamp got Bok player of the year in 2010 I believe. He was very good when playing in SA.

That is a quality pack, better than many international packs.

Spies was like Superman in 2007

Jun 30, 2020, 19:33

Steenkamp was damn good in his prime

Jun 30, 2020, 21:50

Van Heerden was vastly under rated...Wannenburg was solid and Spies...not overrated, but he never really realized his potential...I won't say "nothing special"...I'd say that was a way better than average back row...all Boks...87 tests between the 3 of them...

And you are right, I can't even recal Rayno Gerber.

Jun 30, 2020, 21:53

...but recognized his face immediately. :D

Jun 30, 2020, 22:09

Spies was a softie - great athlete but no hard edge

Jul 01, 2020, 01:21

Spies realized most of his potential, but that was after 2007. He was actually a terrible defender, a fundamentally flawed player in 2006 and 2007. His game expanded tremendously from 2008 onwards, and he left Kankowski well behind - Kan was actually the better player in 2007 by some margin. 

The Bulls pack was good, I actually rated Steenkamp very highly, we seldom lost with him. However, many on here argued against me, saying he was a flat loafer and a key failing in the teams he featured in. Wannenburg was criticised for being dumb muscle throughout the Jake years. Van Heerden was respected for his courage and leadership, but never taken seriously. 

Contrast this with the Shark pack: Carstens, Smit, BJ Botha, Ackermann, Muller, Botes, AJ Venter, Kankowski. That with Bismarck, Beast, Britz, Albert and Skinstad on the bench, to the Bull's Rossouw. 

Jul 01, 2020, 15:20

Spies was never good because he was soft

Jul 01, 2020, 18:36

Spies was an immensely strong and secure carrier, and a guaranteed generator of front foot ball. His only weakness was that he couldn't or wouldn't pass. That would have freed up his game, as he was essentially bombarded wby defenders. You couldn't do that to Big Joe, as one offload/pass would bust your defence wide open - that happened against New Zealand in 2004 with a Joubert try. 

Jul 01, 2020, 19:05

I saw something with Spies in a game  that I have not seen  in any other player -going down with the ball without being tackled.   The famous lyric remains - Spies was built like Tarzan and played rugby like Jane.   

He was very good when he hit the scene - but after he encountered blood problems and could not go to the 2007 WC - he never was the same and got a worse player every year he played,   By 2012-13 he was a total softie and  not up to standard.

No great loss and  not remembered as a test class player.         

Jul 02, 2020, 10:04

Pre-2008 Spies was useless. The infamous loss to Ireland in 2006? His three missed tackles lead to tries. He blew the game. He was a Damian. A couple of runs against England in 2007's friendlies is what gave the impression to the misguided plastics that he was a god. He played his very best rugby from 2009 to 2011. Guaranteed front foot ball, secure carrying and a solid defender.

As for players falling to the ground to reset before or without contact? I have already shown you Steph and Damian doing this very thing you buffoon. :D

You're getting worse by the second. 

Jul 02, 2020, 12:49

Spoes had a few good years. He was terrible on his test debut when Jake White-capped him.
I think he may have played openside flank on debut. 

In 2007 he hit the scene and was a very good player. He was injured before the world cup which was a big blow for the hopes of the Boks. He had a few more good years. Then he got worse each year. His focus was to be involved after the referee blew his whistle. 

Jul 02, 2020, 13:08


It just did not happen in the cases of he World Player of 2019 and the top center in the WC Final of that year. Lies won't change that. 

Jul 02, 2020, 15:45

 In 2007 he hit the scene and was a very good player. He was injured before the world cup 

Are saying an injury kept him out of the RWC?

Jul 02, 2020, 16:15


It was as far as I can remember it was not an injury that kept Spies out of the WC.   He inherited  a health problem from his father - namely clotting of his blood and his father died of a heart attack when he was relatively young.

Before the WC it was found that Spies had the same problem  and he was out as a result.    

Jul 02, 2020, 17:23

Kak Spies was a softie, he had no hard edge like JJ or Bosch or Jantjies or useless Morne Steyn

All softies

Jul 02, 2020, 18:40

It was blot clotting that kept Spies out of the world cup.
When he was at his best he was good scoring some great individual tries, but he was mostly just a ball carrier. His work rate of the ball is low. 

Jul 03, 2020, 16:10

I know Spies scored a lot of tries, the game was serious big and fast for an 8 was actually an 11 converted to an 8. That kind of showed it as he had terrible hands and didn't have the temperament in the tight exchanges. 

That said he was a pretty impressive athlete and better than the 8s we had at the time. 

The amount of knock ons he made or poor passes was frighting and killed most of our momentum. 

Danie Rossouw was our 8 for the World Cup, can't really remember if he had good hands but good ball carrier and covered a lot of ground and could play, 5,4,7 and 8. Really valuable player to have in the team. 

I think RG Snyman can probably also cover 8, given his skill set and how good his in drawing players and passing 

Jul 03, 2020, 17:56

Spies never killed most of our momentum. It was Schalk who used to knock on at scrums, at 8 that was a problem. Spies was verry secure, he just didn't look for the pass. He was blinkered, like Jean. 

Jul 03, 2020, 19:27

Kak, Spies had poor hands and lacked the hard edge. Never imposed himself physically despite being built like a body builder

Jean is the best 12 the Boks have had - stop speaking your usual shit

Jul 04, 2020, 01:07

Actually, his turnovers per test, considering his heavy carries, often absorbing up to three defenders most carries, he was excellent. He was lethal in space, but it took a considerable amount of resources to deny him that space, which opened the game for the Boks when he generated go-forward ball. The only thing he lack was distribution, this would have made him a dual threat, and that would have given him more space. It's important to be versatile. Spies was certainly better than Flopsy and Mopsy in the current side.

Jul 04, 2020, 06:04

Dreaming again AO of something that has not really happened.   I thought that Spies had promise - but he never was really up to it on test level.   The decline was progressive and augmented by poor coaching - both Meyer and Ludeke were useless - so they may have been able to get something more out of Spies than they actually did.  

Jul 04, 2020, 11:04

Spies was soft - that’s all you need to know

Softies don’t belong at the highest level

Spies would not smell a current Bok squad of 100

Vermeulen, Marcel Coetzee, Dan du Preez, Jaco Coetzee, Notshe, Augustus and Arno Botha are all better options at 8 as they are not shit scared of contact

Jul 04, 2020, 11:23

"Flopsy and Mopsy"?....World Player of the Year 2019 and captain of the current Rugby World Champions? Those 2?:D

Jul 04, 2020, 14:39

Draad that kind of sums up the idiots rugby knowledge

You sound surprised

Jul 04, 2020, 22:35

He won a popularity contest. Nothing more. 17th ranked flank in Super rugby 2019, ranked 29th of all top 30 SA ball carriers in Super rugby 2019, with barely 1.7m per carry. Carried that form into the test season with less than 1m more per carry. Can't pass, can't read play on defence (running into the wrong man against our old foe on the biggest stage and repeatedly busting our defence wide open.

Yes, facts dear boy. Facts. Two solid tests in his test career thus far. A liability. 

Jul 04, 2020, 23:41

The only fact worth considering here is that you are rugby ignorant

But the best part of it all is that you are blissfully unaware of this fact

For the record what is a popularity contest in a rugby context huh?

Jul 05, 2020, 11:25

Player of the Year is a popularity award. Nothing more. Steph wasn't the best player in the team, much less world. Every piece of data supports that fact. You can't hold your own Lister, because all you fo is try to out mouth what you don't like hearing. The Pingu response. And just as hard to take seriously. 

Jul 05, 2020, 12:26


Just a question - how do you manage to get everything wrong on every player or coach on this site and support you crazy comments with things like a popularity award.   Of there was there would have been a public input request - not a determination of suitability by 8 rugby experts.  

Since 2000 there has been a system where all-round player competence is determined by experts.  In that time there were only three SA players who got the World Player of the Year Award - Burger in 2004, Habana in 2007 and Du Toit in 2019.  all three were and in the case of DuToit are top class players.

Your problem is you live in a dream world where you think about players on a make-believe and prejudice basis without any real evaluation of performances of coaches and players.     What you actually come up is so stupid it is hilarious. LMAO    

Jul 05, 2020, 17:44

When did I ever "get it wrong"? What are his carry stats? What are his misses tackles? Turnovers? Defenders beaten? Or all of those defensive Engagements where he blows his assignment completely (not in stats)? You have nothing to defend your position. You never have, and none of the Steph fangirls here have ever been able to. 

Jul 05, 2020, 22:38

So what makes him popular you dumbfuck?

Jul 06, 2020, 00:33

The media. Foreigners don't give a damn, they give the Jews Saffers Barrabus Steph, because that's what they want. Still, you cannot assert any phase of the game where he excels. It amuses me. You strain so hard. 

Jul 06, 2020, 00:42

I just love it - he now uses stats as a norm without understanding the interpretation of stats properly.    The stats he has give no real info - as Ceradyne what real stats are used by experts.  

What he does not understand is that stats in fact are meaningless without  looking at the results achieved  and that is where AO has gone bonkers.   Stats used by him is like watching a headless chicken.   He does not understand that tries scored is more important than the number and distance of carries which in turn is influenced by the game plan.  Meyer and Coetzee had none - hence their firing, 

You have never ever been right on any comments you made on rugby.   Firstly you are too dumb and prejudiced to see what really happens on a playing field.

Any one who reads any comments of you on rugby issues will have a great laugh and conclude that they really believe the exact opposite from the shit you carry on about.   But there is one thing you have not explained.  You claim Erasmus was a top class coach with a wonderful game plan - one of the best we have in SA and  you supported Coetzee ahead of Erasmus as coacha s well,   Now tell me what did their  latest employers fired the two of them of they re so much better than Erasmus?               

Jul 06, 2020, 00:42

Jul 06, 2020, 01:08

That was one of your most flaccid contributions. I have absolutely torn to shreds the Messiah Erasmus narrative, with every kind of evidence, and years of dour Stompies rugby. You have nothing. I have used every kind of evidence, evidence which is entirely consistent with video evidence. You have never been able to provide this. In fact, you, and your Church of Steph/José Erasmus guppies have never been able to provide more than personal attacks. You are all routed. In fact, so laboured and dull are the guppy contributions, the incentive to keep this board alive is wafer thin. 

Jul 06, 2020, 16:18

So here we have the self-opinionated idiot saying nothing of consequence again.   Why not admit the missed the pot completely and is drowning in shit again.   

How come you have not answered my simple question - why were both Meyer and Coetzee fired as coaches by the club owners?   Two hopeless coaches with zero game plans.

Why is it that the Springboks scored more tries in games under Erasmus than was the case with Meyer and  Coetzee in given years - you still fail to explain that simple truth as well.You obviously do not know what a game plan is and have serious problems in understanding rugby as  a game.  


Jul 06, 2020, 16:53

I haven't been following French rugby, and neither have you. Noone here can speak authoritatively on French rugby. For the three years that I was downloading games from there, I caught a number of members here out, presuming that nobody would know any differently about their nonsense, so I take what I hear now very lightly. I do, however, have Meyer and Coetzee's entire Bok career at hand. I can and do speak authoritatively about that. I have wiped the floor with the plastics each and every time they open their mouths. That includes you.

Jul 07, 2020, 01:05

You pretend not to know why Meyer and Coetzee was fired - but then they were hopeless coaches when coaching the Springboks.  Typical examples are  the Japan disaster and losing their forst game against the Argentinians at him.  An Coetzee managed to lose to the All Blacks by an alltime record 

Neither of them would ever coach a team again.   Meyer destroyed Stade Francais by them being eliminated  from the France Top 14  competition after being given a record budget to recruit  players.   He failed badly because he could not select competent players at all - a normal while he coached the Springboks

Coetzee similarly destroyed the Japan side he was coaching as well.   

Jul 07, 2020, 09:52

 You pretend not to know why Meyer and Coetzee was fired

How many times are you going to bring up that lie. Meyer was not fired as Bok coach. No matter how many delusional made up theories you try to come up with, the fact remains that he resigned.

Jul 07, 2020, 11:33

Ceradyne - Meyer and Coetzee were fired by their clubs for gross incompetence.  

Jul 07, 2020, 20:10

Um - dumbfuck - he excels in every phase attributed to the game you fucking idiot

I’m not going to name all those phases as it’s too bloody obvious even to an ignorant twit like yourself

To assert that he won a popularity contest is just downright childish

Why would he be popular? His looks, his outgoing personality, his big dick?

Get a grip you fucking idiot

I love the fact you are too fucking stupid to see the obvious. You are so arrogant that you think you are right and the rest of the rugby world is wrong

Is it arrogance or plain stupidity either way you serve to highlight how clueless you are.

As I keep saying it is entertaining though - so keep up the crap work

Pretty please

Jul 07, 2020, 20:47

Alister Coetzee - Fired for being worse than useless by Japan Knights. 

Meyer - Fired for being worse than useless at Stade Francais

Alister Coetzee inherited the defending champion team, 2 out of 3 seasons.
He first year with Coetzee they finish in the bottom half of the table, his second year finished at the bottom of the table near relegation. 

Meyer was given the biggest budget from a billionaire in history to buy his own dream team, players and coaches. First-year was pathetic, but the second year was worse. Looking like they could be relegated to the second division. 

These are two coaches that were shown to be totally out of their depth

Rassie gets to the Pro14 final in his first season in Ireland, and then gets the 2019 results (4 nations champions, world champions, first in IRB ratings etc, etc, etc)
To actually believe these 2 clowns are on par is laughable. 

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