- Bulls breakdown specialist Nollis Marais has highlighted Jake White’s easygoing but honest approach as key to the franchise’s early revival under his watch.
- Perceived as hard-nosed, the former Springbok coach seems notably more relaxed in his dealings as director of rugby.
- His inclusive approach is also getting the best out of his coaching lieutenants.
Jake White has, until recently, been perceived as a bit of a hard-arse but it’s becoming increasingly clear that the Bulls’ seasoned director of rugby is a far more chilled operator nowadays.
His breakdown guru, Nollis Marais, is the latest franchise insider to note how the former World Cup-winning Springbok coach has instituted a relaxed atmosphere at Loftus that’s delivering positive on-field results.
And with that will come increasingly higher expectations.
But Marais has no reservations over White’s ability to cope with those demands.
“Jake’s been around the block as they say,” he said.
“He’s literally experienced everything a coach could’ve in his career and his reputation speaks for itself.
“The thing that’s struck me is how relaxed he is about various aspects of the team. He’s comfortable with everyone, all our coaches can just go out and focus on his area. He really seems to strike a balance between being involved and delegating, just as befits his director role.”
Moreover, White’s players seem happy.
“He has a calming influence over the players,” said Marais.
“They know exactly what he expects from them because he’s a straight talker. You always know exactly where you stand with him. He’s been faced more severe pressure before and he knows how to handle it.”
The 56-year-old’s inclusive approach to management is evident in the burgeoning professional bond between Marais and defence coach Joey Mongalo, a very important factor given that both men’s portfolios actually tie-in with each other.
“It’s working well for us at the moment. Everybody’s still figuring each other out in terms of philosophies and how we’re coaching,” said Marais.
“Joey and I come a long way from our Tuks days, so we know each other well. We’re working excellently together because he’s such a great guy to work with.
“He’s been involved at Super Rugby level before with the Lions, it’s really easy to work with him. Joey’s going to go far.”
The Bulls’ next encounter is against the Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday.
Kick-off is at 19:00.