Castle hangs up on Jake after phone call leak

by Iain Payten

RUGBY Australia boss Raelene Castle has cancelled a phone call with former Springboks and Brumbies coach Jake White after detail of the call was leaked to the media.

Amid heavy speculation around the future of Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, a Courier Mail report on Thursday revealed Castle was set to have a “secret call” with White, who is currently coaching in Japan.

White had been touted as a possible replacement for Cheika should Rugby Australia choose to part ways with the Wallabies coach when the RugbyAU board meet on December 10.

Though Castle has repeatedly declared Cheika is “contracted through to the World Cup”, the Wallabies’ lacklustre form on the Spring Tour and a 4-9 record across the year has renewed speculation about whether the contract will be cut short.

White, who coached South Africa to a win in the 2007 World Cup, has expressed an interest in coaching the Wallabies in the past and lost the job to Ewen McKenzie in 2013.

A Rugby Australia spokesman confirmed White had reached out to Castle to schedule a phone call on Thursday afternoon but it had since been cancelled, no doubt due to the leak.

“Jake White approached Rugby Australia and asked to have a conversation,” he said.

“Rugby Australia did not approach him but agreed to speak with him but have decided not to proceed with the call.”

Cheika is currently in Europe, where he was pictured at a rugby clinic in Lebanon on Wednesday.

He is set to front a Wallabies review with Castle and the Rugby Australia board on December 10.

"Rugby Australia is conducting a review process at the end of the Qantas Wallabies season, which is understandably attracting additional attention due to the challenging year the team has faced," Castle said in a release issued on Thursday night.

“We acknowledge and understand the frustrations of Wallabies fans over recent results and we are completing a thorough review ahead of an important year for the team which culminates with the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
“The review commenced within the Wallaby team environment immediately after the match against England last weekend, with players remaining in camp to complete their end of season reviews prior to their departure from the UK on Tuesday.
“The outcomes of the full review will be presented at the December meeting of the Rugby Australia Board with Wallabies Head Coach Michael Cheika in attendance.”