The aura of the Brumbies is so much more evident
Jake White may not be everybody's cup of tea. In fact he has many critics. However, there is no denying he has the ability to turn teams around.
When White became Springbok coach in 2004, South Africa was ranked sixth in the world. Four years later they were not just ranked first, but had also claimed a second World Cup crown.
Yes, in between there were poor results and a number of public spats with his employers. But on the field the Bok brand was flourishing.
When White was appointed Brumbies coach late last year, the Canberra team had slumped to its lowest ranking ever - 13th. They had managed just four wins in 2011.
This year, after just one season, they were a solitary bonus point away from the play-offs (ranked seventh) and had won 10 matches, with five of their six defeats earning them a losing bonus point.
Despite that disappointment of that heartbreaking loss to the Blues in Week 18, coach Jake White feels they have plenty of positives to reflect on.
"We leave a bit disappointed but, if we take a step back and really reflect, it's not a bad effort," he told AAP.
"Considering where we started, considering what we had, considering what the expectations were from outside ... we surprised a lot of people.
"It might not feel like we passed but we got 80 per cent [of points on offer] - that's a distinction.
"It's not very often you get a distinction and still feel like you failed.
"The aura of the Brumbies is so much more evident," White said.
"Ex-Brumbies say that it's reminiscent of the old days and they're very thankful for that."
White is confident his squad can continue their improvement into 2013 but, for the meantime, he'll be ruing what could have been this weekend watching the Reds, who pipped his side 13-12 in week 14 after Brumbies five-eighth Zack Holmes missed a penalty attempt in the dying moments.
"I'm really not sure if them winning back-to-backs is going to make it easier or more difficult," White told AAP.
"My gut feeling tells me it will probably make things feel worse for us.
"We should have beaten them in that game."