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Wallabies coach sacked

“We have differences in attacking strategy and overall game philosophy”

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Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Australian Rugby has today announced that former Wallaby Stephen Larkham will no longer act as the national side’s assistant coach but will transition to a new role as national high performance coach advisor.

Larkham is a former World Cup-winning Australian Out-Half and was recently inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame. He joined the Wallabies as attack coach after cutting his teeth with the ACT Brumbies. He has been with the Wallabies as attack coach since his appointment in 2015 which included their RWC 2015 campaign.

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.

Larkham’s new position will focus on coach mentoring, coaching and skills development across the Australian Sevens program, Junior Wallabies, State U20s Academies, and Buildcorp Wallaroos.

Stephen Larkham said in a statement:

“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.

“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,” said Larkham.

Rugby Australia Chief Executive, Raelene Castle said:

“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 Qantas Wallabies.

“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,” said Castle.

Rugby Australia also confirmed today the departure of Wallabies Head of Athletic Preparation, Haydn Masters.

Masters resigned from his post after four seasons with the Wallabies, having previously worked under Michael Cheika in the victorious 2014 NSW Waratahs Super Rugby campaign.

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Wallabies selector O’Connor outlines requirements for Quade Cooper

Clear instructions.

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New Australian Rugby selector Michael O’Connor has highlighted that Quade Cooper can take less risks to win international selection, now that he has joined the Melbourne Rebels.

Connor is set to start his work as a selector next month. He will work alongside head coach Michael Cheika and in-coming director of Rugby Scott Johnson.

He told the Sydney Morning Herald: “There are still areas in his game he needs work on and if he can improve those, well then he’ll be in the reckoning.

“I would be very surprised if Michael (Cheika) didn’t agree with that. At Test level though you can’t be throwing blind passes. You can’t be taking risks at the line.”

Cooper was impressive during the Rebels recent 34-27 victory against the Brumbies.

O’ Connor expects his side to face a few selection dilemmas this year especially as it is a world cup year. However, he does feel that the final decisions will ultimately go down to coach Cheika.

Check out some of Quade’s highlights from his debut with the Rebels

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Sonny Bill Williams linked with Canadian move.

#Wolfpack

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Toronto Wolfpack owner David Argyle says the club are on the brink of signing one of the biggest names in rugby union according to League Weekly.

Several players have been linked with Canadian club across social media, but it does seem that Sonny Bill Williams is the name that seems most likely.

The 33-year-old has played across both codes. He left rugby league to return to the Union in 2014.

SBW has suggested in a number of interviews that he would like to finish his rugby career in League, where it all began for him when he ran out for the Canterbury Bulldogs in 2004.

Wolfpack owner Argyle certainly stirred the pot while speaking at a viewing party on Saturday night.

“We’ve got some really exciting things coming up,”

“Before the Rugby Union World Cup in Japan later this year, we will have one of the top five rugby players in the world (coming here).”

Toronto’s rise in Rugby League has been a radical one with the team playing their first pro game in 2017.

Backed by billionaire Argyle, who has made his fortune in mining they almost secured back-to-back promotions but were beaten in last year’s Million Pound Game by London Broncos.

They have started this seasons campaign with real purpose and have set their sights on the top flight under new head coach Brian McDermott.

Could we actually see Sonny Bill Williams become part of the ‘Wolfpack’ and appear for the transatlantic team next season, potentially in Super League?

Stranger things have happened.

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Barrett wary of French move following Savea blastings

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Toulon boss Mourad Boudjellal has came out swinging this week at his players following their lost to Agen. Julian Savea took the brunt of the abuse while Rhys Webb took a spraying too.

Beauden Barrett was speaking to reporters since the comments were made and has said the savaging of former All Blacks teammate Julian Savea by Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal would make him think twice about joining the French club.

The unrepentant French tycoon doubled-down on his criticism of Savea with another astonishing rant after Savea publically responded to the ‘released‘ comments made by his boss. This sparked a huge Twitter backlash against Boudjellal with friends and former colleagues of the All Black winger showing him their support.

Barrett took things a step further when questioned if Boudjellal’s comments would put him off signing for Toulon when he decides his post RWC Future.

“It certainly doesn’t help,” he told reporters.

“Firstly, you’ve got to be comfortable. It’s a big move to move offshore and you have to be happy with a number of things.

“Your family have to be happy, you have to be happy with the coaching setup and team culture, so there are a number of different things.

“It’s totally different over there from what we see externally. It must be a different dynamic, it’s not the same as here.”

The Twitter backlash against Boudjellal seemed to stoke the fire as he unleashed round 2 of his spat yesterday, saying the rest of his contract will be “very long for him”.

The owner was particularly unhappy Savea took a month off for a trip to Fiji to attend the wedding of his brother and All Blacks flanker Ardie Savea.

“I can not think it’s normal for a player paid more than 1 million euros per year to go on holiday to Fiji for a month in December … he just had to attend his brother’s wedding, not take long leave,”

Boudjellal words perhaps were an intentional warning for those considering joining the club.

“Do not come to Toulon as a tourist. There is enough in the region,”

Earlier this season the outspoken owner came out and said when he intended leaving the club. Perhaps this isn’t soon enough for some players.

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