Jake White: Bulls coach undergoes successful emergency surgery

Bulls director of rugby Jake White underwent successful emergency abdominal surgery on Sunday evening, the South African United Rugby Championship franchise has confirmed. Credit: Alamy
Bulls director of rugby Jake White underwent successful emergency abdominal surgery on Sunday evening, the South African United Rugby Championship franchise has confirmed. Credit: Alamy

Bulls director of rugby Jake White underwent successful emergency abdominal surgery on Sunday evening, the South African franchise has confirmed.

White was feeling unwell and did not make it to the stadium for the Bulls’ United Rugby Championship (URC) clash with the Dragons on Friday evening but was seemingly on the mend when the team touched down in Johannesburg on Sunday.

Successful two-hour surgery

Later in the day, however, White complained of debilitating stomach cramps and was rushed to a nearby hospital to undergo an emergency operation, a statement from the Bulls confirmed.

“The successful two-hour surgery took place at a Pretoria hospital, and the doctors are pleased that everything went well. The medical team is confident that Jake will make a full recovery and return to his role soon,” it read.

Bulls CEO Edgar Rathbone visited White on Monday morning to check in on him and convey a message of support.

“It is never nice to see one of our own down, but we are extremely confident that Jake is receiving the best medical attention available, and our team of medical experts will provide him with all the necessary support he will need to make a full recovery,” Rathbone said.

“We would like to thank the hospital team, doctors and all those who rushed to offer their expertise and helped with attending to Jake. We have seen, first-hand, why South African medicine is rated among the best in the world. Thank you.”

Sharing the load

The statement further confirmed that White would be taking a brief break away from the union to recover until February 8 but added that the expertise and advice of the medical staff would guide them.

While White is on the mend, the Bulls have not named an acting head coach, stating that the coaching team would share the responsibility of leading the side.

“Everyone at the Loftus wishes Jake a speedy recovery and will be supporting him in every way possible to get him back on the pitch as soon as possible.” the statement concluded.

The Bulls’ 29-14 win over the Dragons saw them move up to third place on the overall URC standings.

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