7 May 2015

Jake White is currently the coach at Montpellier – he has been there since December 2014 when he replaced former French captain Fabien Galthie as coach. Once again he walked out of a contract, this time as Technical Advisor to Tonga, staying true to his record of ducking out of contractual obligations before their term has expired. (Brumbies, Sharks, Tonga……)

Once again he is staying true to his record by trying to load his current team with imported players and favourites.

He waves the chequebook as he attempts to build a winning team of imports, to the detriment of local talent and, in my view, continuing and reinforcing the long term damage to French rugby as a whole caused by overloading their Top 14 teams with imports.

During the last two months he has approached both Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis as well as Dimitri Catrakillis. Another of his previous players, Nic White, has indicated that he will be leaving the Brumbies and heading for Montpellier. He already has Robert Ebersohn and Wynand Olivier.

Other Southern Hemisphere players in Jake’s squad include Maximiliano Bustos and Nahuel Lobo, the Argentine props, Chris King, Tom Donnelly, Alex Tulou, Rene Ranger and Anthony Tuitavake from New Zealand and Ben Mowen and Staleki Timai from Australia. There are also three Fijians and a Samoan to complete the contingent from south of the Equator.

Out of a squad of 41 players, 18 are not eligible for French selection. Add Ben Lucas who was born in Australia and has qualified for French selection by dint of long residence in the country then almost half the squad are not of French blood.

I am not sure of the contractual status of the du Plessis brothers, but Gert Smal has indicated that Catrakillis will not be released from his contract despite the huge transfer fee Jake has offered WP and the Stormers.

Methinks, if the price we have to pay to be rid of Jannie means we have to lose Bismarck too, then I hope Jake gets their signatures. We have enough younger hookers to replace Bizzie, while Strauss was streets ahead of him last year.

Bill – May 2015