Brumbies 'looking at our attacking game'
December 12, 2013
Stephen Larkham is now wearing a different hat at the Brumbies © Getty Images
The Brumbies are preparing to shed the shackles as co-coaches Stephen Larkham and Laurie Fisher build the team in their own image after the departure of Jake White.
The Canberra-based franchise enjoyed a successful Super Rugby season in 2013, making the play-offs for the first time since winning the title in 2004 and reaching the final after a dramatic semi-final victory against the Bulls in the South African team's Loftus Versfeld fortress; indeed they looked likely to produce another upset when they led the Chiefs 19-9 five minutes into the second half of the final only to be run down by the defending champions.
For all that success, however, the Brumbies of 2013 are remembered rather for their dour game plan centred on the triple-play kicking game of Nick White, Christian Leali'ifano and Jess Mogg for possession.
Larkham was the Brumbies attack coach under White in 2013, but he has flagged a different offensive structure now the South African Rugby World Cup-winning coach has returned to his homeland to coach the Sharks.
The Brumbies are "certainly looking at our attacking game" Larkham told Fox Sports News, citing the success of twin playmakers Matt Toomua and Leali'ifano given a more adventurous game plan by Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie on the end-of-year tour of Europe.
"Last year we were criticised by the general public, the crowd, at times for our kicking game out of our own half. But that's the nature of the competition."
Larkham said also that Pat McCabe was "hitting all the marks we need" as he returns from a shoulder injury sustained in the first Test against the British & Irish Lions, saying the inside centre and David Pocock, returning from a season-ending knee injury in sustained in round four of the 2013 season, were each looking as good as the coach could remember.
Pocock said the Brumbies had obviously endured a tumultuous off-season, given the departure of White and chief executive Andrew Fagain, "but in terms of coaching and on the pitch, we haven't lost much and we're looking forward".
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Bows, bouts and big hits, launches, lineouts and late tries. Here's the finest snaps from the last seven days: it's Week in Pictures time
The Scotland coach enters his first Six Nations with at least one familiar face to look to for inspiration - Joe Schmidt. He chats to Tom Hamilton
Italy coach Jacques Brunel spoke to ESPN ahead of his final season as Italy coach and tells of his desire to experiment and evolve
"There's no bull with me, I just tell it straight." Tom Hamilton talks to Warren Gatland in an exclusive interview