Life without White is fine for the Brumbies
October 10, 2013
Clyde Rathbone has told Fairfax that the Brumbies players are unperturbed to start pre-season training without a coach © Getty Images
Clyde Rathbone has said the Brumbies players have "no issue" starting pre-season training without a head coach, insisting that the search for Jake White's replacement is "irrelevant" to the squad's preparation.
White stepped down from the head coach position with two years left on his contract, leaving Stephen Larkham and Laurie Fisher in charge.
The squad has been strengthened with 11 of the best players from Canberra's club competition, while Larkham and Fisher continue recruiting to fill the full-time roster for the 2014 Super Rugby campaign, with two full-time roster spots still remaining. Rathbone said White's abrupt departure will not affect pre-season training and should not overshadow the squad's remarkable turnaround over the past two seasons.
''It's a complete non-issue starting training without a coach, that doesn't matter until it's selection time and the start of pre-season is about getting physically and mentally right,'' Rathbone told the Canberra Times. ''It doesn't matter; you shouldn't change anything from a mindset point of view. Pre-season is about preparation, [the coaching issue] is pretty irrelevant. Jake's tenure was overwhelmingly positive and how he left shouldn't tar everything else. All the building blocks are in place for us to move forward.''
White shocked the Brumbies when he quit two weeks ago to take a spot as the Durban Sharks' director of coaching, leaving many players in the dark about his departure, with the coach failing to contact individual squad members to give reason behind his departure. It's understood that some of the Brumbies' Wallabies representatives boycotted a dinner with White in Cape Town hours after the news emerged of White's departure. Some players remain angry and disappointed White didn't contact them directly.
White has attempted to contact several players and has spoken to some squad members, but it's understood some remain disappointed they found out about White's decision via social media.
The Brumbies are finalising a four-man sub-committee before deciding whether Larkham, Fisher or an outside applicant will take the head coaching role. The Brumbies preference is to promote Larkham or Fisher instead of taking an outside applicant, but the franchise's preference hasn't stopped more than 20 hopefuls expressing interest in either the head coaching spot or a role as an assistant coach. Sacked Rebels coach Damien Hill is one of the candidates to fill an assistant role.
Hill was the Rebels' coach for the past two Super Rugby seasons, but poor results ended his tenure. Hill started his coaching career in Canberra more than a decade ago, won the Macdougall Medal for Canberra's best first grade player and has coached in Japan with former Wallabies and Brumbies mentor Eddie Jones.
''My family [is in Canberra], my son's there and it would be good to go back to where it started,'' Hill said. ''I've got fond memories of [the Brumbies] and nothing but admiration of what the Brumbies have been able to achieve over the last couple of seasons.''
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