Brumbies Super Rugby head coach Stephen Larkham has confirmed 2017 will be his final season with the Club before he links with the Wallabies in a full-time capacity.
Larkham, who was an integral part of the Brumbies Super Rugby titles as player in 2001 and 2004, has signed a three-year contract to link with the Wallabies on a full-time basis.
Currently the Wallabies Attack Coach, Larkham signed a one-year deal to stay with the Brumbies for the 2017 Super Rugby. He made it clear that he wanted to sort his future out prior to the beginning of next season to allow the club time to plan for a future successor.
The 42-year old, who played 127 matches for the Brumbies and was capped 102 times for the Wallabies says the decision to leave the Brumbies Head Coach position has come after months of consideration and discussion with his family.
“I wanted to ensure I was comfortable with the decision and that both my family and the Brumbies had plenty of time to plan for the future beyond 2017,” Larkham said.
“It will be hard to leave, but it’s the right time and the best decision for myself and my family and will help me achieve the goals I set out when I began coaching.
“Juggling both roles have been difficult. Ultimately, I wanted to be able to focus my energy on one program and connecting with the Wallabies full-time through to the 2019 World Cup and beyond allows me to do that.
“The Brumbies will always be my home and it is going to be extremely hard to say goodbye at the end of the 2017 Super Rugby season, but I think it is the best decision for both the club and myself.
“I’ll be doing everything I can to support the club in its recruitment of a new Head Coach and know the right people will be in place to lead this side in the future.
“I am extremely proud of what we have been able to achieve in my time as a coach with the Brumbies and hope the fans will rally behind the side in 2017 and beyond.
“I want to thank the fans for the support they’ve provided over the years, it has been truly humbling. It has been an honour and an enormous privilege to lead the Brumbies who are such a big part of the Canberra community and will always treasure the opportunities the Brumbies have given me.”
In his time as a coach, the Sport Australia Hall of Fame inductee has helped the Brumbies reach the past four finals series and in 2016 led the ACT franchise to the Australian Super Rugby Conference title.
Interim Chief Executive, Phil Thomson, says he will understand fans sadness at seeing Larkham leave the organisation at the end of 2017, however everyone involved with the club is grateful for the service he has given to the Brumbies and Canberra community.
“There is no doubt that he has given everything to the club and I’m sure that will continue in 2017 before he farewells the Brumbies family and fans,” Thomson said.
“He has earned the opportunity to link with the Wallabies due to the success he has brought to the Brumbies as both a great player and as a great coach.
“The Brumbies have been a huge part of the Larkham family’s life for over two decades and the doors are always open for Stephen to return here at some stage in the future.”
“We will begin the process of finding a new Head Coach for 2018 and beyond over the coming months. We will work closely with the current coaching staff and Stephen before selecting a successor.”
Following the Wallabies Spring Tour, Larkham will return to Brumbies HQ in January to begin his final pre-season preparations as Head Coach.