Stephen Larkham has committed to another three years as University of Canberra Brumbies Head Coach, taking him through to the end of the 2017 Super Rugby season.
The announcement comes as Laurie Fisher confirmed he will finish his tenure as Director of Rugby with the UC Brumbies at season’s end to pursue opportunities in Europe.
“It’s a huge moment in my career to be extending my position here. I’ve had a long history with the Brumbies with some success, but the idea of new challenges has made this really exciting for me and my family,” Larkham said.
“We’ve been able to retain the bulk of our squad and the future is looking bright. While I’m looking forward to the future, the most important thing for our group at the moment is to regroup and prepare for a big match against the Western Force in two weeks’ time.”
Larkham’s extension provides further cohesion to the squad for 2015.
Larkham has led the recruitment and retention program since becoming Head Coach in late 2013. He is credited with the retention of stars like Matt Toomua, Nic White, Joe Tomane, Henry Speight, Jesse Mogg, Scott Fardy, Scott Sio, Jarrad Butler, Christian Lealiifano, Tom Staniforth and Allan Alaalatoa over the last two months.
Fisher’s exit will see Larkham’s position with the UC Brumbies revert to a more traditional Head Coaching position and the club will not refill the vacant Director of Rugby position. Despite the announcement reaching the media before the UC Brumbies had planned, this process has been the club’s vision for the last 12 months.
Chairman Sean Hammond said this was essential in forward planning, with the make-up of the High-Performance Unit in 2015 having already taken significant shape.
“Stephen has been working with a small group of staff and players to configure the make-up of the High Performance Unit for 2015 and beyond and those discussions are already well advanced,” Hammond said.
“Stephen has turned a backline of club players into Wallabies in the last two years. He has made a significant contribution to our rugby program and its current status. We are excited by the prospect of having one of the Brumbies greatest ever players at the helm for the foreseeable future.
“Laurie has always indicated that he was keen on returning to Europe to coach so we have made provisions around that transition over the last 18 months. It’s a testament to the quality of our program and coaching staff that they continually find themselves on the radars of other clubs and we wish Laurie all the best.
“I’d like to thank Laurie for his contribution to the Brumbies. Since the turn of the century he’s been involved with shaping the club and has been responsible for turning countless players into household names.”
Allowing for a three-year stint in Ireland between 2009 and 2011, Fisher has been a mainstay in the UC Brumbies coaching ranks for the last 15 years.
He was Runners and Academy Coach between 1999 and 2000, graduating to the top squad as Forwards Coach in 2003. By 2005 Fisher had been appointed Head Coach, a mantel he held until 2008 before venturing to Ireland and Munster for a three-year stint.
Returning to the UC Brumbies as Forwards Coach in 2012, Fisher steadied the ship following the departure of Jake White in 2013 and has spent the last 12 months as Director of Rugby with the UC Brumbies.