Wallabies coach Dave Rennie breathed a deep sigh of relief a week ago when Nic White agreed to terms to stay put in Australian rugby for one more season.
The only capped World Cup halfback still playing in Australian rugby, White’s retention was a key piece of business for Rennie to take care of.
Now it is official, with the 31-year-old signing a one-year extension to stay at the Brumbies.
Not content with only being offered a short-term contract, White put the heat on Rugby Australia to up their offer or risk losing him to Japan in the pivotal World Cup year.
While White is the favourite to wear the No.9 jersey in France next year, RA believed with Tate McDermott, Jake Gordon and Ryan Lonergan in the game, they did not need to pay overs for White long-term.
That theory is sound, but it leaves White vulnerable given he is by no means a spent force and, naturally, the Brumbies leader, who won a title with Exeter, wanted to secure his future.
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White made that point clear during an interview late last week with SEN’s Jimmy Smith, as he compared himself to Broncos recruit Adam Reynolds, who left the Rabbitohs – his childhood club – after not being offered a long-term deal.
“I feel like I am Adam Reynolds from the Rabbitohs,” White told SEN.
“It’s hard to convince people that you want to stick around for a long time at my age, and I get that, but I also want a bit of security with the family, so we are just sorting out the finer details.
“(We were) talking about the 2023 World Cup, but I went in there talking about the 2025 Lions tour – I want to play the Lions. I am only 31 and feel like I am getting better. I understand they look at it like a bit of a ticking time bomb – ‘when is the guy going to break?’ I have played 300 games, but it’s hard to convince them I am good to go. You just have to find middle ground, but I have made it pretty clear this won’t be my last contract, it won’t even be my second last. I still have plenty left in the tank.“
In a Rugby Australia statement, White made it clear he was happy to be staying in Canberra.
“I’m really happy to be staying at the club and in Australian rugby,” the 47-capped halfback said.
“It’s been a long process, but my goal has always been to stay at the Brumbies and to continue to earn the right to play for my country.
“The Brumbies is home to me, I love the club and my focus now is fully on the Blues this Saturday and the exciting challenges we have ahead of us.”
Rennie, who has favoured White for his ability to control a game and brilliant kicking game, said he was thrilled to have the No.9 confirm his future.
“Nic’s one of the best halfbacks in the world and to have him recommit to Australian Rugby is a massive positive for the Wallabies and the Brumbies.”
“He has amazing work ethic, has high expectations of himself and demands the same from those around him.
“Whitey’s a top man, his competitiveness is infectious and he’s playing the house down at the moment.”
Brumbies coach Dan McKellar, who will leave the franchise at season’s end and hand the keys back to former coach Stephen Larkham, labelled White as a “world class” player.
“Everyone at the Brumbies is excited to have Whitey stay at a club which clearly means a lot to him and his family,” McKellar said.
“We talk a lot about needing world class players in your team to compete at the top level and Whitey’s in that bracket.
“With his professionalism and dedication, he’s got a lot more to give to the game and he’ll be an important player for the Brumbies for as long as he wears ACT colours.”
White’s retention caps a successful fortnight of business by the Brumbies, who also secured Noah Lolesio’s future recently.
The young playmaker, who missed their first defeat to New Zealand opposition last weekend because of concussion, was also toying with a move to Japan.