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Stephen Larkham outlines Brumbies plan as he returns 'home'

Wed, 03/08/2022, 7:33 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Brumbies head coach Stephen Larkham spoke to media today at Brumbies HQ in Canberra. Earlier today the Brumbies confirmed Laurie Fisher, Rod Seib and Dan Palmer will form Larkham's coaching staff for 2023, the World Cup winner saying he was proud to be part of the Brumbies organisation once again.

Incoming Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham has outlined his plan to help galvanise support and the fans he feels the club deserves as he returns to where it all began.

The prodigal son returns to Canberra after a stint with Irish club Munster, five years after leaving to join the national set-up.

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Whilst the place remains largely the same since he left, Larkham believes they face a major task in replacing a bevy of experienced players leaving the club.

Despite this, he told reporters he believes the extensive depth within the club's pathways can help negate their departures.

“There’s been a significant review process that’s happened over the past couple of weeks,” Larkham said.

“The most significant change is we’ve lost a couple of key experienced players like Scotty Sio, Folau Fainga’a, Irae Simone and Tom Banks. They’re other guys we’ve lost but they’re the significant guys.

“It’s an exciting time for some of the younger guys coming in who’ve put their hand up through the last season and some guys who’ve trained exceptionally well playing John I Dent Cup.

“There are a lot of excitement around those positions and the general depth of the squad is very good. We have 15-16 Wallabies at the moment, a couple more in Australia A so there’s been a really program here over the past couple of years and the quality of player here is really good.”

The Brumbies have ready-made replacements for Fainga'a in Lachlan Lonergan and Billy Pollard, whilst Tom Wright and James Slipper have proven they can cover Sio and Banks' absence.

Therefore, inside centre remains the main issue of concern, with Australia A standout Hudson Creighton and Ollie Sapsford the main candidates to replace Irae Simone.

However, a bigger task on Larkham's radar remains galvanising support for the highly-successful club.

He suggests they are not receiving the fan support they deserve for their continued success and exciting brand of Rugby.

The Brumbies legend was hopeful talks of a new stadium in 'Civic' and the impending World Cups and Lions Tours could be the catalyst for an uplift of new fans.

“As an organisation, players and coaches, we have to grow the game and I presented to the boys and that was one of the points,” he explained.

“We’ve all got to get on board to ensure we’re creating interest in the game, we’re getting more of the younger demographic playing Rugby and ideally for our success and the growth of the game here in Canberra, we’re getting more people through the gates at GIO ('It is still GIO?' Larkham quipped to reporters, showing he is still getting used to the new surroundings).

“I think the hot topic at the moment is the new stadium in Civic. I think that’ll do wonders for the game, the ability for people to go from pubs and restaurants into the game, it links the city with the lake and something we’re definitely behind.

“Some of the Rugby we’ve been playing over the past two years, we warrant better crowds. Our push now without our Wallabies will be trying to get into the community, trying to create more interest individually in the players and group as a whole.

“Hopefully we can get a few more people through and learn to appreciate and understand what we are doing as well as love the game like we all do here at the moment.

“There’s going to be really good interest with the World Cup (next year), Lions Tour and the home World Cup (in 2027) which will hopefully attract a number of fans from across the world and we’ll get some good results there which drives the game again.”

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