World Cup winner White won’t lead Lions tour, says agent

JAKE WHITE’S agent does not expect the World Cup-winning coach to lead the British & Irish Lions’ tour of South Africa next year.

Craig Livingstone insists White has not been approached over a role with the Lions, who are expected to name their new boss next week.

“We haven’t been contacted at all regarding the position, so I’m sure it would go to one of the coaches of England, Ireland, Scotland or Wales,” Livingstone said last night. “So it’s very unlikely that Jake would be involved in such a position.”

Livingstone, whose client had also been linked with the Ireland post until yesterday’s appointment of Declan Kidney, went on to outline White’s plans for 2009.

“He’s involved with a whole lot of business opportunities that he’s busy with in South Africa,” Livingstone explained.

“He’s also doing quite a few corporate engagements and he’s doing some consulting work for the IRB (International Rugby Board) with the smaller tier countries and that really what he’s focusing on right now.”

White led the Springboks to their second World Cup triumph in France last year.

Meanwhile Wales boss Warren Gatland has completed his coaching team by recruiting conditioning expert Craig White.

White has linked up with the national squad during their current pre-South Africa tour training week in Wexford and will work with current Wales conditioning coach Mark Bennett. White’s most recent role in Britain was at reigning Guinness Premiership champions Leicester.

He has also worked with Bolton Wanderers Football Club and was part of Clive Woodward’s Lions support staff in New Zealand three years ago.

Gatland said: “I have worked with Craig at London Wasps and in Ireland, and I know the talent and dedication he will bring to his role with Wales will be of great benefit to the players. I am extremely pleased with Mark Bennett, and to have them both working on player-conditioning gives me total confidence that we now have the right balance going forward.”

White added: “Wales is a great rugby nation, and I am delighted to be joining such a dynamic coaching team and in particular to be working alongside such a highly-regarded fitness coach as Mark Bennett. Mark’s presence here was one of the reasons for me choosing to take on this role.

“We have been in touch on a professional basis many times over recent years, and I believe his skills, knowledge and experience will very much complement mine, and vice versa, as we work together towards a promising future.”

Sebastien Chabal admits his chances of playing in the 2011 World Cup will be all but over if he fails to be selected in France’s squad for their summer tour to Australia. The Sale Sharks number eight last played for France back in October in the bronze-medal match against Argentina in the World Cup. The 30-year-old was ignored by new coach Marc Lievremont for this year’s RBS Six Nations Championship and is still desperate to play for France but appreciates he will probably be out of the equation for good should he not be called upon this summer.

“It wasn’t just for pleasure the coaching staff saw lots of players during the Six Nations — it was because they are preparing for the World Cup in 2011,” he said.

“This summer, there are going to be a few constraints on them and they are going to be forced to see yet more players because they will not be able to call upon those involved in the semi-finals of the Top 14. After that, the staff are going to tighten the squad. If they do not call me up for this tournament, that would mean they have people in my position and that I am no longer first or second choice.”


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