Australian Rugby Union today confirmed the appointment of two new assistant coaches for the Qantas Wallabies in Stephen Larkham and Nathan Grey.
They will join the Qantas Wallabies’ coaching staff for the 2015 Test season while continuing in their respective roles at a Super Rugby level, with Larkham as Head Coach of the ACT Brumbies and Grey as Defence Coach of the NSW Waratahs.
Qantas Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said the changes would play an important role in the future success of the team.
“At this level, it’s crucial that you have the best people and best possible high-performance program in place if you are going to deliver winning performances for the Wallabies,” Cheika said.
“I am confident we enter 2015 with an experienced and strong coaching and off-field team and I welcome the new appointments.
“Stephen is a coach and former player with incredible credentials who has a deep understanding of what it takes to succeed in this environment, including playing an important role as a player for Australia in three Rugby World Cup campaigns.
“Nathan has done a remarkable job during his time in Super Rugby and his coaching was extremely well received by the entire Wallabies squad during last year’s Spring Tour, and is a big driver in the standards and culture within the team, which will be important.”
The Qantas Wallabies coaching ranks have been further bolstered by the appointment of Dean Benton. Benton has returned to Australian Rugby following a successful stint with the ACT Brumbies from 2011-2013 and will play a critical role in the players' preparation in the lead up to the Rugby World Cup.
Off the field, the ARU has developed a new management structure with increased resources for general team management and logistics.
Simon Roberts has been appointed as the Qantas Wallabies Team Operations Manager while Patrick Molihan will be the Qantas Wallabies Team Manager.
Roberts brings significant sports administration experience with ten years at Football Federation Australia, while Molihan joins the Australian Rugby Union with over 25 years of experience in the media and sport industries, including involvement at major events such as the Olympic Games and most recently at the New South Wales Rugby League.
“We’ve also created additional roles and selected a team of experienced professionals in Dean, Simon and Patrick to complement each other and deliver what the Wallabies need both on and off the field.
“I’m confident a combination of all these elements will help deliver the best possible environment to help the players perform.”
The Qantas Wallabies will continue their search for a set piece coach following the departure of Andrew Blades.
“Just as he did as a player over 30 times, Andrew has represented Australian Rugby and the Wallabies with professionalism, integrity and a genuine passion for the game.
“I’d like to thank Andrew Blades for his service in the past three years. We’re continuing our search for a new Set Piece/Forwards Coach, with an announcement to be made in due course.”
Larkham is regarded as one of Australia’s best-ever playmakers and has a playing record which includes Rugby World Cup, Bledisloe Cup and Tri-Nations success. He has had a seamless transition into coaching and was appointed as the ACT Brumbies Head Coach in 2014.
Grey is also a former Wallaby centre and boasts an impressive 35 Test caps and two Rugby World Cup campaigns. He joined the Qantas Wallabies on their 2014 Spring Tour to add to a coaching resume, which includes winning a maiden Super Rugby title with the NSW Waratahs; as an Assistant Coach of the Melbourne Rebels; and also at Kyuden in Japan.