Sunday 15 December 2019

White's shock Sharks exit sparks Ulster speculation

Jake White's exit from Super Rugby's Sharks has ramped up speculation linking him to Ulster's vacant director of rugby job. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
Jake White's exit from Super Rugby's Sharks has ramped up speculation linking him to Ulster's vacant director of rugby job. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Jake White's shock exit from Super Rugby's Sharks has ramped up speculation linking the ex-Springboks coach with Ulster's vacant director of rugby job.

The mastermind of South Africa's 2007 World Cup triumph left his job at the Durban-based franchise yesterday after just one season following talks with his former captain and the Sharks' current chief executive John Smit.

Ex-hooker Smit said the renowned coach was intent on returning to the "international stage" after the surprise announcement, but there is little doubt his CV would turn heads at Ravenhill, where the search continues for a replacement for David Humphreys.

White last coached outside South Africa during a hugely successful spell with the Brumbies in Australia, but returned home after missing out on the Wallabies job to Ewen MacKenzie.

Ulster are expected to name Neil Doak as their new coach when interim director of rugby Les Kiss returns to the Ireland set-up next month, but the vacancy for a direct replacement for Humphreys goes on.

Meanwhile, Kiss will have Paddy Jackson available for Friday's meeting with Edinburgh after the Ireland fly-half was forced off in the surprise defeat to Zebre with a head injury.

Hooker Rob Herring should be okay to face the Scots after training yesterday despite sustaining a 'stinger' on his shoulder, while Jared Payne will return after he recovered from the hip injury that forced him out of Saturday's game. Back-row/second-row Iain Henderson is facing 12 weeks on the sidelines after having surgery on his hip last Thursday.

He began his rehabilitation process yesterday, but his progress will be reviewed in January and he is in a race to be fit for the Six Nations.

Elsewhere, Ulster's Rugby Champions Cup opponents Toulon are reportedly close to agreeing a deal to sign All Black Ma'a Nonu after the World Cup on a two-year deal.

Irish Independent

The Left Wing: John Cooney on Ulster's European run and bouncing back from World Cup disappointment

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport