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White & Smit back England vs South Africa series

Sharks Director of Rugby Jake White still wants to coach internationally

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Article Published: Monday 27 January 2014|

Sharks Director of Rugby Jake White and CEO John Smit have suggested that their team's rugby match against English Premiership leaders Saracens could lead to regular matches between English and South African teams.

White's Sharks lost 23-15 to the former Premiership champions in front of a near sell-out crowd at Allianz Park who broke the record for bar sales on Saturday.

"Maybe this is the sign of things to come," he told BBC Sport.

"It's an overnight flight, and we'll be back at work on Monday afternoon after playing a team in England."

Informal discussions between some of the South African Currie Cup sides and Premiership Rugby bosses have already taken place as the English clubs already have a backer for a new tournament although that new tournament is likely to feature European teams.

If the English clubs are unable to find enough teams to play against in Europe the possibility of South African teams playing in Europe could be greatly increased.

"Logistically, to fit in an extra tournament against South African sides (at the moment) will be a bit tough, but maybe that can happen in the future," said White.

"And for now there's nothing wrong with now and then having southern hemisphere club sides against northern hemisphere club sides. Maybe here (England) can be a home from home. I'm sure there are exciting times ahead."

South African teams playing in England could expect strong support due to the high number of expats who have relocated to the UK.

"It's great because there are a lot of ex-South Africans living in London," added White.

"And I'm sure they're going to enjoy some of the players they have supported as young kids playing in this country."

Former Saracens hooker and now Sharks CEO John Smit said believes that a competition involving English and South African teams would be welcomed as it would mean less travel and reduce the effects of jet lag.

"There are a lot of competitions out there and they have been going for a long time - the Premiership, Currie Cup, Super 15 and the Heineken Cup. None of them are broken, they all produce pretty good products," Smit told the Telegraph.

"But it's been a long time and if you need to look at what kind of change could add to the game in a positive way; that's what is bumping around in terms of European rugby at the moment.

"If the work done around qualifying in the Heineken Cup is to bring in other teams, that will only improve the game. Whether those are teams are from the southern hemisphere I can't say.

"But the only southern hemisphere teams that could enter are South African, because the others are too far away."

White also took the opportunity to let international rugby unions know that he is still interested in coaching an international team at the Rugby World Cup.

The former Springbok coach joined the Sharks after he quit the Brumbies last year when it became apparent that he would not be appointed as Wallabies coach.

"I've made it quite clear I would love to coach another international team. John Smith (the Sharks' CEO) knows full well my ambition is to coach again at the highest level," he added.

"I'd like to coach a team that I feel can win a World Cup. If that means that you're going to coach in the northern hemisphere, that's fantastic. If that means you get another crack at your own country that would also be great.

"I'm never going to be embarrassed about the fact that, as a young guy, I coached national rugby and I enjoyed it."

"And now I've got older I long to get that opportunity again. But one never knows where. If it's in England, or Wales, then obviously I put my hand up."

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