jake white and bryan habanaMemories of the 2007 World Cup
Victorious Springbok Coach Jake White celebrates with IRB Player of the Year Bryan Habana
(Rugby Heaven)

At an intimate gathering Monday night at the Rupert’s household in Somerset West, Mick and Cheryl renewed their acquaintance with victorious World Cup winning coach, Jake White and old-time friend and Avontuur Stud owner, Lindy Taberer. A delightful evening in convivial company, and when they got down to the rugby, they agreed to play by Clarence House rules, which means they could talk about coaches and coaching and the general state of rugby, without worrying about secret recordings or blackmails for positions in national teams, as we’ve read so much about in the press of late.

While we’re not sure he could be persuaded to take up the “hot seat” again, “The Coach” is in great shape, and was on his very best of form. A touch bruised, mind you, after 45 minutes on the park, as a substitute in the “Legends” match against Scotland. Jake was among youngsters Joost v.d. Westhuizen, Breyton Paulse, and despite Ian “Macs” assurances he wouldn’t ask him for more than 5 minutes of game time. Jake knows how fickle coaches can be!

The reassuring thing is that he wants to renew his association with this year’s Emperors Place Ready To Run Cup, where he, John Smit, Schalk Burger, Francois Steyn and Jean de Villiers joined us a week after their big party in Paris last year.

So it’s more than on the cards that we’ll have Jake aboard again for the first Friday and Saturday in November, at both the Ready To Run cocktail party at Emperors Palace, and the “Big” meeting. As a victim of the horse racing business already, he could even land up having a dabble when the horses enter the ring on the Sunday.

While it’s still to be settled finally, we’re looking to celebrate the swansong of Percy Montgomery on the same couple of days, as part of a fine blend of nostalgic “oldies” (How does the thought of “Os” sound?) together with a few of the new kids on the block.

Of course, our net will not be limited to the rugby fraternity alone. Like theReady To Run, which has a horse for everyone, we’ll have a celebrity to appeal to most tastes, so watch this space in the weeks ahead.