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Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Larkham sacked as Wallabies assistant

Larkham, who joined the Wallabies setup ahead of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, was axed from the national setup, citing "differences in attacking strategyt" with coach Michael Cheika.
Rugby Australia last year announced the addition of Scott Johnson as a new director and CEO Raelene Castle couldn't guarantee the safety of any of Cheika's assistants at the time, but there were reports that Larkham or forwards coach Simon Raiwalui could be in the firing line.
Larkham is the sole casualty of the group despite a lean Wallabies 2018 that produced just four wins from 13 Tests.
This decision on Larkham appears to have predated the announcement of Johnson's appointment even, with Rugby AU CEO Raelene Castle saying Larkham's differences with Cheika had been raised as part of the Wallabies season review.

While Johnson was officially installed before the final call came, Castle said it was Cheika who had led the decision-making.
"During the post-season review when they came back and obviously looked at the Wallabies performance, everyone identified that the Wallabies didn't play well enough this year or consistently enough and therefore deliver results," she said.
"So when they sat down and had those conversations there was a philosophical difference between the attacking styles and ultimately they agreed that for Bernie (Larkham) to move on was the right thing to do.
"Michael consulted with Scott and explained to him what he was going to do and his rationale so he was involved in the process."
Asked why the move wasn't announced earlier, Castle said the pair had worked to move past their differences.
"When you've got two coaches with great experience and really good depth of knowledge whether it be attack or defence, you want to try and work those things out and you also don't want everyone to agree all the time," she said.
"You need challenge and differences of opinions to make sure that what you do in the final outcome is grow and develop it but ultimately they didn't think that the core elements of attack was aligned and so ultimately that's where they believed it was the right thing, Michael believed the right thing for Stephen to move on."
Castle said some possible successors had already been identified but that decision wouldn't be made until after Johnson arrived in Australia next month.
"There's no rush. We have identified some people but there's certainly no rush on that appointment and we'd like Scott to be involved in that process," she said.
"Other assistant coaches are still in place an that's the coaching team with the addition of a new attack coach that Cheik believes will be the team to take them through to the World Cup."