Brumbies boast 'SA flavour', White's influence

DAVID BARBELER
Last updated 08:22 27/07/2013

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Brumbies captain Ben Mowen has praised coach Jake White for resurrecting the once-floundering franchise with a "South African flavour".

The Brumbies were languishing near the bottom of the Super Rugby table when the World Cup-winning Springboks coach took the reins late in 2011.

Tonight they'll play in a semi-final for the first time in nine years when they challenge the Bulls in Pretoria.

And while they were rewarded with 12 players named in the 40-man Wallabies squad on Friday, White's tactics aren't to every Australian rugby aficionado's taste.

He demands a very territorial game that often flies in the face of traditional running rugby.

Yet Mowen has no doubt who is responsible for the side's stellar two-year rise.

"What Jake's done well is he's come in and added a bit of South African flavour to our game," Mowen told South African reporters.

"What he's also done is adapted really well to the Australian culture.

"From the start he tried to really get involved in the Australian way and I think that's what makes him so relatable to the players."

While White's tactics have helped the Brumbies, they may have stilted his own ambitions.

The South Africa-born coach narrowly missed out on the Wallabies coaching gig to Reds coaching director Ewen McKenzie earlier this month.

ARU boss Bill Pulver at the time cited McKenzie's "Australian way" of coaching as a determining factor.

However White remained upbeat about the decision when asked about it by his countrymen earlier in the week.

"I put my hand up to coach international rugby, I didn't get the job, that's the way it goes," he said.

"Every week I tell a player: 'You're in', or 'you're out' and he's got to take it on the chin.

"As a coach you expect players to do that. If you're a coach and it happens to you then you've got to keep going."

Brumbies in the Australia squad: Ben Alexander, Scott Fardy, Peter Kimlin, Tevita Kuridrani, Christian Lealiifano, Jesse Mogg, Stephen Moore, Ben Mowen, Scott Sio, Joseph Tomane, Matt Toomua and Nic White.

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