Jake fears Super meltdown
Jake fears Super meltdownSHARE
World Cup-winning former Springbok coach Jake White has joined the chorus of outcries against Wallaby mentor Robbie Deans' plans to rob Australian franchises of leading players at a crucial stage of the season.
Reds coach Ewen McKenzie and Waratahs counterpart Michael Cheika have already raised their objections to the proposed three-week camp prior to the three-Test series against Warren Gatland's British and Irish Lions.
White has now joined the debate, suggesting the plans to strip Australian Super Rugby teams of their Test players for crucial matches are blatantly unfair.
White's Brumbies side missed the play-off cut by a solitary point, after a surprising loss to the Blues in their final game at the end of the regular round of matches last year.
The Brumbies are scheduled to meet the Melbourne Rebels in Canberra on June 7 – 15 days before the first Test against the Lions – in their second last game and White doesn't want to lose the likes of David Pocock, Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander and Pat McCabe for such an important fixture.
On that same weekend, Cheika's Waratahs meet the Western Force in Perth and the Reds are due to host the Lions at Suncorp Stadium.
"Last year in the last round our whole season changed, so I find it highly unlikely that in the last rounds this year that the expectations from anybody would not be to play your best teams," said White.
"We're all happy to help, but it's making sure everyone wins. We can't have this situation – we can't afford to lose four guys or five guys."
The Brumbies provided eight of the 49 players announced by Deans for a logistics camp this month.
White is happy to rest those players for the tour fixtures against the Lions and he has no issue with resting Test players from their Lions tour clash on June 18, but he is holding a hard-line over the Super Rugby fixtures.
The Brumbies will give Aussie skipper David Pocock his debut on Friday night in a friendly against his former team mates at Western Force in Darwin.
That game will also see a welcome return to action after injury for former Wallabies wing Clyde Rathbone.
McKenzie has said he'd be prepared to compromise by allowing Test players to start their camp on June 2 in the hope they'd be released towards the end of the week to play that weekend.
But that would not appease 2007 World Cup winner White who feels he needs his young, improving side together for a full week to prepare for their clash with the Rebels.
"Ewen is in a different situation because he's talking about a Lions [tour] game and he also has a very settled team," he said.
"It makes no difference if one guy [Quade Cooper] boxes one Saturday and plays the next Saturday – there's not many teams who can afford that.
"The Waratahs have a Wallaby pack of forwards who play together every Saturday – if it's not for the Waratahs it's for the Wallabies.
"We're in a very different situation.
"We can't afford to lose four guys or five guys and then by Saturday they're back to play."