Stephen Larkham has been axed as Wallabies assistant coach by Michael Cheika eight months out from the rugby World Cup after falling out over attacking strategies.
The World Cup-winning former Wallabies five-eighth says he and Cheika were at odds following the team’s dismal year which saw the Australian team slip to a record low seven in the rugby world rankings.
Rugby Australia announced Larkham would shift to a new role as National High Performance Coach Advisor, effective immediately.
Larkham’s role will focus on coach mentoring, coaching and skills development across the Australian Sevens teams, Junior Wallabies, State under-20 academies and the Wallaroos.
Larkham said he was disappointed with the outcome.
“Ultimately Michael is responsible for the performance of the team. 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,” said Larkham.
“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.”
Rugby Australia Chief Executive said it was important Larkham remained within the organisation.
“We are very pleased that Stephen has agreed to take on this role. He was one of our greatest ever Wallabies and has developed a strong depth of experience during his coaching roles with the Brumbies and Wallabies, said Castle.
“It was very important from Rugby Australia’s perspective to retain Stephen’s services and to ensure his experience is used to grow and develop coaches and players in our next generation.
“We will also look to support Stephen in his transition into another Head Coach role.