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Connolly : Brumbies are in a win-win situation

Stephen Larkham is a possible replacement for Jake White

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Article Published: Monday 14 October 2013

Former Wallabies coach John Connolly says that the Brumbies are in a no-lose situtation over the replacement for the recently resigned Jake White.

Connolly who coached Australia at 2007 Rugby World Cup believes the race to be the next Brumbies coach is down to a "toss of the coin" between Stephen Larkham and Laurie Fisher.

Larkham is a Brumbies legend on the playing field but Fisher has already held the top coaching job in Canberra as he coached the Brumbies between 2005 and 2008.

Connolly is convinced that as both candidates lack of ego and their team-first approach make them ideal to replace Jake White who has already moved on to the Sharks.

Former Wallaby coach Connolly said that the Brumbies have a win-win situation regardless of who they appoint as White's successor.

The Brumbies reached the Super Rugby final in 2013 and have already started their 2014 pre-season training as they look to go one better next season.

Larkham appeared to be taking the lead at training but it is thought that the pair will be interviewed by a selection panel within the week.

"Whatever choice they make will be a good one, I don't think there's two better people for the job," Connolly said.

"The danger you have with this type of playoff is it can be difficult for who loses, but there's no ego at all with either of them. They'll want what's best for the team and the players, and accept it.

"Canberra rugby is ingrained in both of them, which is a huge plus. There's a lot of ticks for them as a working combination.

"It's going to be a toss of the coin, and whoever wins it will understand that."

During his time as Wallabies coach Connolly rated Fisher as one of Australian rugby's most astute minds.

However Connolly spent some time with Larkham in Brisbane earlier this year and he is now just as convinced that Larkham is ready to take over the coaching job.

"I've got tremendous respect for Laurie, when I was with the Wallabies I thought he was one of the better rugby brains in Australia and by far the best provincial coach," Connolly told WAToday.

"I bumped into Steve on the street a few months ago and had a chat, I enjoyed it because I felt he had his head strongly around coaching.

"Very few outstanding players have turned into outstanding coaches because it (playing) came to them easily, but Stephen's probably the exception to that.

"As a player Stephen was reserved and quiet but strong in his views, while Laurie has always had that uniqueness about him.

"I think those two characters will work well with each other, and see no rhyme or reason to talk with anyone else."

Connolly insisted that the Brumbies would not lose any ground under the guidance of Fisher and Larkham.

"You need a certain amount of ambition as a coach, but for them (Fisher and Larkham) it's all about the team, and Brumbies football."

White has been appointed Durban Sharks director of coaching from next season, but Connolly insists the Brumbies won't lose any ground underwatch.

"I think it (White's exit) was average, he committed for four years," he said.

Meanwhile Brumbies fullback Jesse Mogg said that the players would prefer to have the coaching job settled sooner rather than later so that they cab preparing for next year.

Mogg has recently undergone a shoulder reconstruction and expects to be fit for the start of next season.

"Coming into day one unsure of who will get the job I guess isn't ideal, but the boys are handling that fine and working on building for next year," he said.

"I think it (coaching decision) would make the training process a lot easier, whoever gets the role will fit in quite easily. "

"Laurie's really good at his job and so is Bernie (Larkham), we've set a strong culture at the club and moving forward."

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