November 29, 2018 / 2:11 AM / 11 days ago

Rugby Australia rebuffs approach from World Cup-winning coach White

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Harlequins v Montpellier - European Rugby Challenge Cup Pool Three - Twickenham Stoop - 12/11/15 Jake White before the match Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Paul Childs

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Rugby Australia has turned down an approach from World Cup-winning coach Jake White as media speculation swirls over the future of Wallabies coach Michael Cheika.

The governing body confirmed South African White had approached Raelene Castle for a “conversation” but, despite media reports to the contrary, said the RA chief executive would not be speaking to him by phone on Thursday.

“Raelene was approached by Jake for a conversation but the call as reported will not be going ahead,” an RA spokesman said.

The Wallabies finished their worst season in 60 years with a 37-18 thumping by England last week, their ninth loss out of 13 tests triggering more calls from fans and media pundits for Cheika to be sacked 10 months out from the World Cup.

Cheika has remained defiant that he can turn the team around in time for Japan, having guided the Wallabies to the final of the 2015 World Cup in England after a similarly poor season the year before.

White led the Springboks to their second World Cup triumph in 2007 and coached Australian Super Rugby franchise the ACT Brumbies from 2012 to 2013.

He was among the candidates to replace New Zealander Robbie Deans as Wallabies coach in 2013 but lost out to Ewen McKenzie, whose resignation the following year resulted in Cheika getting the job.

Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Nick Mulvenney

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