But White, who coached the Springboks to their 2007 World Cup win, would not be in a position to start until after England’s summer tour to South Africa. The 48-year-old is eight months into a four-year contract with the ACT Brumbies and has vowed to see out the current Super Rugby season, which ends in June.
White did not apply for the job before the 15 February deadline but has now advised the Brumbies he wants to talk to the RFU about taking over as Martin Johnson’s permanent successor.
England’s current interim coach Stuart Lancaster and the former South Africa and Italy coach Nick Mallett are also understood to be in contention.
Brumbies chief executive Andrew Fagan said: “Obviously this is a terrific opportunity for Jake White, and one which reflects his status as one of the world’s leading coaches.
“Jake is in the first of a four year contract with the Brumbies, and there are many details that would need to be worked through should he be successful with his application.”
The RFU want to finalise an appointment before the end of the RBS Six Nations with the aim of having a new permanent coach in place to lead England on the three-Test June tour.
But the RFU’s new chief executive Ian Ritchie revealed last week they would be prepared to wait if it meant appointing the right man.
“It’s a simple objective: To get the best person we can to do this job,” Ritchie said.
If White was appointed to start in July, the RFU would ask Lancaster to continue in his role as interim coach and lead England on the summer tour.
The new coach will be charged with leading England into the 2015 World Cup on home soil and top level international coaching experience appears to be one of the RFU’s key criteria.
John Kirwan coached Italy and Japan to three World Cups but his application failed because he has no experience in charge of a top-eight team.
Mallett coached South Africa to a record 17 successive wins and past England into the 1999 World Cup semi-finals before a successful stint with Stade Francais and four years with Italy.
White took his native South Africa to their 2007 World Cup triumph and has said that the prospect of winning the World Cup a second time is an exciting one.