Stephen Larkham, Justin Harrison and Marco Caputo will return to the CA Technologies Brumbies as part of the side’s coaching staff for 2011.
Larkham will return to Canberra after completing his third season with Japanese club, the Ricoh Black Rams, to take up the position of the CA Technologies Brumbies Attack Coach while Harrison, who completed his 96-cap Super Rugby career with the CA Technologies Brumbies this year, will stay on as the club’s Forwards Coach. Caputo will take over the reigns from Bill Young as the side’s Scrum Coach.
The trio, who are each contracted for two years, will join Andy Friend (Head Coach) and Tony Rea (Defence Coach) as the CA Technologies Brumbies coaching staff for the 2011 Super Rugby season.
Larkham, a mercurial playmaker who was renowned as the premier flyhalf in world rugby during his career, played 116 Super Rugby matches for the CA Technologies Brumbies between 1996 and 2007, culminating with a starting role in the 2001 and 2004 Super 12 premiership sides. The 36-year-old, who formed a legendary halves combination at provincial and Test level with George Gregan, played 96 matches for the Wallabies, which included a 48-metre drop goal against South Africa to secure a place – and eventual win – in the 1999 Rugby World Cup final.
Harrison, arguably the best lineout exponent in world rugby, returned to the CA Technologies Brumbies in 2010 after playing four seasons with Ulster and Bath. Harrison played 21 Super Rugby matches for the Waratahs in 2004 and 2005, and 75 matches for the CA Technologies Brumbies between 1997 and 2010, including the 2001 Super 12 title.
Caputo played 43 matches for the CA Technologies Brumbies and five Tests for the Wallabies between 1996 and 1999. The former Australian hooker returned to the CA Technologies Brumbies in 2010 as Assistant Scrum Coach and Brumbies Academy Assistant Coach, and is Head Coach of the Gungahlin Eagles, who currently sit second on the Tooheys New John I Dent Cup table.
Friend says he’s pleased with the coaching staff assembled to take on an expanded Super Rugby competition in 2011.
“It’s an exciting prospect to have these three join the coaching staff and bring a new approach and fresh ideas to the table,” he said. “Each of them has experience playing at the highest level and they were considered among the best in their respective positions throughout their careers.
“Steve’s credentials as a player are second to none and he is renowned as being one of the playing masterminds of the modern game. He’s always had an attacking mentality as a player and it will excite a large majority of the Brumbies faithful to see him returning to the club for 2011.
“Likewise, Justin has always been a leader within the sides he’s played for. He brings with him an incredible amount of intellectual property and a tremendous enthusiasm, and I’ve got no doubt he’ll make a seamless transition into the world of coaching.
“Marco has already had an involvement with the side this season as our Assistant Scrum Coach. He’s very passionate about his rugby and he’s done a fantastic job, not only with the Academy and assisting with our scrums this season, but he’s also reinstated Gungahlin as one of the teams to beat in the Canberra competition.
“Combined with Tony and myself, our coaching staff presents great balance and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can achieve with what is a formidable playing roster in 2011.”
Brumbies Rugby CEO Andrew Fagan says the inbound trio bring with them considerable rugby experience.
“It’s fantastic to see these players wanting to return to the club after decorated careers with the CA Technologies Brumbies and abroad,” he said.
“Each of them has extensive playing experience at provincial level – both in Australia and overseas, as well as spending considerable time as part of some outstanding Wallabies sides.
“It’s exciting to be able to bring these players back to the CA Technologies Brumbies as part of our coaching staff, and along with Andy Friend and Tony Rea, we’re confident that they will be able to revisit the success that they have experienced as players with the ACT.”
Harrison and Caputo’s tenure in their respective roles will begin immediately while Larkham will return to Canberra in November.