One eye on 2018 for Brumbies after ARU announcement

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Brumbies are already looking to set in motion their 2018 plans after their Super Rugby status was confirmed by the ARU this morning.

The national body declared the Brumbies safe in Super Rugby, with a decision to be made between cutting the Force or the Rebels ahead of the 2018 season.

Larkham had maintained throughout the speculation that it was ‘ridiculous’ the Brumbies were among the teams slated to be cut, along with the two expansion clubs.

Confirmation that the Brumbies are safe gives the Brumbies the chance to secure a head coach for 2018, with a number of high-profile candidates believed to be in the mix.

“I think it gives us an opportunity now to push forward with a number of decisions that we've been waiting on,” he said.

“I think head coach being one of those and a number of player contracts as well.”

Tevita Kuridrani has led the way with tries this tour. Photo: Getty ImagesWith a moratorium on non-Wallabies players to be lifted once the decision is made, Larkham admitted they had been keeping one eye on opposition talent, but their priority would be on the horde of Brumbies players coming off-contract.

“I think we need a little bit of direction from both SANZAAR and the ARU in terms of our squad size and whether the players have to move provinces or get reallocated to provinces or it's their choice,” he said.

“We have looked at some of the other provinces in terms of their playing group and identified some players that we think might fit our organisation but at the same time, we've got a number of negotiations that are going on at the moment with players who are currently here and our stance is that we certainly want to make sure that we retain the players here before we look elsewhere.”

Larkham said the priority for the wider Australian community was to help continue the growth of rugby in the region that lost its Super Rugby team.

“It's not a matter of losing a team and forgetting about that region or that team, it's about making sure we can help that region to still enhance rugby in that area,” he said.

Larkham could well be the man to oversee the effects this contraction have on the Wallabies, joining the national coaching staff full-time at the end of this Super Rugby season and earmarked as a potential successor to Michael Cheika beyond the 2019 World Cup.

Asked of the impact it might have on the Wallabies, Larkham said only time would tell.

“That's the crux of the decision: is four teams better for Australian rugby than five teams?,” he said.

“You're not really going to know until a couple of months, couple of years down the track.

“If we can get the right combination and we can get the flow on effect to the Wallaby level from the four teams, then there's no issue.

“I think that this year we've probably struggled a little bit in Super Rugby as a conference, I think the Australian teams haven't played as well as they need to have played but what I've seen in the last couple of weeks is the provinces really turning around their performances.

“There'll be another adjustment period now."

The Brumbies take on the Rebels this weekend in round eight of Super Rugby, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via radio on RUGBY.com.au.

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