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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.

International

Huge Suspension Handed to Tongan Star

One of Tonga’s main men has been handed a big suspension as he heads back to play club rugby following the team’s elimination from the World Cup

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(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Tongan hooker has been handed a heavy ban after admitting to foul play during the side’s final Rugby World Cup game against the USA on Sunday.

Ngauamo admitted that he kicked an opposition player in the face contrary to Law 9.12 (kicking) during the Sunday’s 31-19 win. 

An independent Judicial Committee in Tokyo sat on Tuesday and after taking into account the situation at hand in which the Tongan player clearly kicked an opponent in the face they decided it would warrant at least a mid-range offence. 

Under World Rugby’s mandatory sanctions a mid-range entry point results in a minimum eight-week suspension, which was handed down to Ngauamo. 

However, after taking into account the player’s admission to the offence at an early stage in proceedings as well as his good disciplinary record up to the offence they chose to take a week off the ban meaning he will serve a seven-week suspension. 

The player is returning to his home country today before jetting back to France where he will return to Top 14 club Agen, but will now be out of selection for seven-weeks meaning he will not feature until around December in what is a huge blow for him and the club.

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Scottish Ace Considering International Future

Following Scotland’s departure from the Rugby World Cup it now looks like one of their key men may have finally had enough

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Scotland star Greig Laidlaw has admitted that he will consider his international future following his side’s exit from the Rugby World Cup.

The Scots were knocked out yesterday following a 28-21 loss to hosts Japan, which coupled with their opening round 27-3 loss to Ireland to leave them with two wins and two losses in the group as they finished third. 

It seems as though this set back could have been enough to push Laidlaw out the door as Scotland continue to falter on the biggest stages. 

“I’ll go away and have a think. Tonight it’s about staying together as a group. Tonight is not about me. I’ll go away and talk to the people I need to talk to and make my decision from there,” he said after the game. 

Having been capped 76 times for his country the 34-year-old is one of their longest serving players and is a regular starter along with being their main place-kicker so his departure would leave a huge void in the team. 

He also admitted that Japan were the better team on the day, applauding their improvement since the last World Cup and saying they were fully deserving of their victory. 

“We knew Japan have really improved as a team since four years ago. We have to give them credit for the way they have progressed and the way we have performed this evening. We gave away two soft tries and we left ourselves with a mountain to climb. They didn’t catch us off guard, we actually started the game pretty well. We got into a lead, we never switched off, but we let Japan into the game,” he added. 

Before the match was even played Japan were ranked higher than their opponents showing how far they have developed and how far Scotland are falling. 

However, following this latest set back and pending on Laidlaw’s decision things could get worse before they start to get better as he could open the flood gates with regards to player departures from the international stage as they seem pretty fed up.

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SA Rugby Issue Statement on Etzebeth

South African Rugby Union have issued a statement regarding star man Eben Etzebeth’s current situation

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South African Rugby Union have issued a statement with regard to forward Eben Etzebeth after reports yesterday claimed that the South African Human Rights Commission plan to take legal action against him.

Etzebeth is at the centre of an allegation claiming that he was involved of in a racist incident as well as it having physical repercussions. The incident is said to have taken place the day before the Springboks Rugby World Cup squad was announced. 

However, the towering second-row has already denied all allegations having been interviewed by the Human Rights Commission before the squad left for Japan. 

Following reports yesterday the Springboks have confirmed in a statement that the Human Rights Commission will proceed with legal action. 

“The South African Human Rights Commission announced on Wednesday that it would institute legal proceedings against Eben Etzebeth in the Equality Court, relating to allegations of an incident in Langebaan in August,” the statement read. 

As well as the statement a Springbok spokesperson has confirmed that they will continue to help with the case as much as possible as they look to come to a conclusion sooner rather than later. 

“SA Rugby reaffirms its commitment as a good corporate citizen to abide by any requirements placed on it or its employees by South African authorities. We have fulfilled all requests to date and will continue to do so as and when advised. Following our discussions with the South African Human Rights Commission we have instituted an internal process to address the matter, the details of which remain an employment matter between SA Rugby and the player,” he said. 

Etzebeth will hope that the case will not require him to return to South Africa before the conclusion of the World Cup in Japan as he is a vital part of the Springboks team that hope to win the whole tournament. 

However, whatever happens his sights will be firmly set on Friday’s clash with Italy, where he has been named among the starting line-up in what could decide who finished second in Pool B and progress to the last eight.

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