Rugby World Cup winner Stephen Larkham has been sacked as the Wallabies attack coach and been moved into a new role with Rugby Australia. Will this have an impact on how the Aussies prep for Japan?
Larkham, who won the 1999 Rugby World Cup and played more than 100 times for the national side, will take up a new role as National High Performance Coach Advisor.
“Larkham will move into the new role with immediate effect after a decision was made by head coach Michael Cheika that Larkham should no longer continue in the role of assistant coach of the Wallabies,” Rugby Australia said in a statement. The question now should be surely what’s happened with their relationship that needed to see Larkham moved within ARFU?
Larkham, who will now concentrate on coach mentoring, coaching and skills development across Rugby Australia’s national programmes, said he was disappointed to be leaving the Wallabies job, which he had held since 2015.
“Ultimately Michael is responsible for the performance of the team,” Larkham said. Reading between the lines someone could read that as Larkham signalling that Cheika should really be the man heading towards the door and not him.
Larkham went onto say “We have differences in attacking strategy and overall game philosophy. We couldn’t agree on these key points and it is in the best interest of the team that they receive clear and consistent messages from their coaches. I am obviously disappointed with this outcome as I had chosen to pursue the experience of taking the Wallabies through to the World Cup, however I am pleased to be able to continue coaching and contributing to Australian Rugby in this new role.”.
When you see a player and coach of that pedigree leaving the team, you have to wonder what’s happening higher up in the structure.
Not the ideal springboard for World Cup success.