The Brumbies have confirmed that Jake White will not be returning to Canberra and the World Cup winner has now been strongly linked with the Sharks.
White requested the release for the final two years of his contract on Friday from South Africa and has since been in touch with the Brumbies Chief Executive, Andrew Fagan and senior players.
Fagan was disappointed to hear White would not be returning to Canberra to honour the final two years of his contract.
"I'd have to say that I was shocked when Jake called to tell me that he was intending to stay in South Africa," Fagan said.
"We are well into our planning for next season and have lots of great things happening on and off the field as we build on the momentum of making this year's final.
"To have Jake decide that he wants to pursue his international coaching ambitions from South Africa at this late stage is disappointing. He has achieved a great deal for the UC Brumbies' and we felt he certainly had more to offer."
"But I understand his reasons for seeking the release. He was obviously very disappointed in missing out on the Wallabies' job and he sees his best opportunity to further his international coaching career is from South Africa.
"He also has two sons who live in South Africa who he misses a great deal so when I sit back and look at it I can understand why he has made his decision."
Assistant coaches Laurie Fisher and Stephen Larkham will take control of the team in the short term while permanent options are investigated.
"Look it's far from ideal that Jake is leaving right now but in saying that we have two outstanding assistant coaches in Stephen Larkham and Laurie Fisher who have delivered the majority of the on-field coaching and they will continue to implement our high performance program. We will make a decision on a head coach in due course."
"On behalf of our fans, the players and staff at the Brumbies, I'd like to wish Jake and his wife Lindy all the very best in the future. Jake has achieved great things for the Brumbies' and his record is one that I'm sure he will always look back on with pride."
Few will be surprised if White surfaces in Durban as it will re-unite the former Springbok world cup winning duo of captain John Smit (now Sharks CEO) and coach.
According to reports newly appointed Sharks director of coaching Brendan Venter could stay on as a consultant in much the same way he acts with Saracens in England.
It is understood that White applied for the Wallabies job with the Brumbies backing when it became apparent that Robbie Deans would not continue and was initially led to believe that he would get the top job in Australian rugby.
White was so convinced that he would be appointed Wallabies coach that he had already started talks with his potential management assistants.
However at the 11th hour a top ARU official is believed to have threatened to quit if White was appointed as he was not Australian so the job went to Ewen McKenzie.
A disillusioned White then went on to become the first away coach to win a Super Rugby Semi-final at Loftus Versfeld but then his Brumbies lost to the Chiefs in Hamilton.
Sharks CEO John Smit released a statement following White's exit saying,"Here at The Sharks we have a definite plan for our team. Could Jake White add value? Of course he can.
"He is a very successful coach with an amazing track record. We would welcome an opportunity to engage with him, should it so arise."
Sources close to the Sharks say that he has agreed to take over as Director of coaching.