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Wallabies legend Larkham reveals interest in Australian job

BY Philip Bendon  ·  Thursday Nov 16, 2023

In the aftermath of Eddie Jones’ sudden departure from the Wallabies, attention has turned to potential successors, with Stephen Larkham emerging as a prominent candidate. Larkham, a key figure in the 1999 World Cup-winning team and the current coach of the ACT Brumbies, recently addressed the speculation surrounding his interest in coaching the Wallabies.

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During a press interaction on Thursday, Larkham maintained a level of discretion when probed about his potential interest in the coaching role. However, he openly expressed his eagerness to contribute to Australian rugby in whatever capacity possible. “I’m certainly interested in trying to help rugby in Australia,” he affirmed. Larkham emphasized the Brumbies’ organizational philosophy centred on game growth, indicating a commitment to fostering positive results and advancements within the sporting arena.

Despite being viewed as a leading contender to fill the void left by Eddie Jones, Larkham clarified that he has had no discussions with Rugby Australia regarding the coaching position. “We’ve sort of got a fair bit on, RA has got a fair bit on at the moment, and I’m very focused here on my job,” he explained. The ACT Brumbies coach underscored ongoing changes within the team since the conclusion of Super Rugby and highlighted a robust planning period with the coaching staff.

“I’m certainly interested in trying to help rugby in Australia,” Larkham said.

“We’ve got a real philosophy here to make sure we are growing the game as an organisation.

“So, however, I can help in terms of improving our results and improving our growth within the sporting arena, I’d love to be involved.”

“We’ve sort of got a fair bit on, RA have got a fair bit on at the moment, and I’m very focused here on my job,” he said.

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Alongside former ACT boss Dan McKellar, Larkham, a former Wallabies assistant under Michael Cheika, stands out as a potential frontrunner for the coaching role. However, Rugby Australia is not expected to hasten the process of naming Eddie Jones’ replacement, recognizing the significance of making a well-considered decision.

Larkham’s coaching experience includes serving as the Wallabies’ attack coach from 2015 to 2019, followed by a three-year stint with Irish side Munster. His familiarity with the national team’s dynamics and his current success with the Brumbies contribute to his candidacy for the prestigious role.

Reflecting on the Wallabies’ recent disappointment in the Rugby World Cup, Larkham offered insights into the challenges of the tournament. Drawing attention to South Africa’s narrow victories in the final three games, he highlighted the fine margins, be it refereeing decisions or mistakes, that can shape a team’s fortunes. Larkham acknowledged the potential impact of Eddie Jones’ philosophy in bringing together a younger group, expressing an understanding of the strategic approach despite the ultimate letdown.

“They won the last three games by one point — that’s a refereeing decision, that’s one bad mistake, and it changes the fortunes of the team,” he said.”You could argue there are a few of those refereeing decisions or bad mistakes that could have changed the whole narrative of the Wallabies.

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“I understood Eddie’s philosophy there in terms of bringing the younger group together and seeing if we can jag something … there was potential we were going to do that,” Larkham said.

As the Wallabies navigate the aftermath of their World Cup setback, Stephen Larkham’s interest in contributing to Australian rugby’s resurgence adds an intriguing layer to ongoing coaching discussions. While uncertainties persist, fans and pundits eagerly await developments in the coming months.

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