Stephen Larkham dumped from Wallabies coaching setup

Stephen Larkham is no longer a part of the Wallabies coaching setup David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images

Stephen Larkham has paid the price for the Wallabies' woeful attack across a 4-9 Test season in 2018, losing his job as one of Michael Cheika's assistant coaches.

Larkham will instead "transition" into a new High Performance role at Rugby Australia [RA], the former Wallabies fly-half to focus on skills, mentoring and coaching across the Under 20s, Sevens, Wallaroos and junior programs.

The Wallabies great had been in the firing line after Australia struggled to break down opposition defences in 2018, failing to build any real continuity with ball in hand.

Larkham cited conflicting theories on attack and game strategy with Wallabies coach Michael Cheika as the reason for his departure.

"Ultimately Michael is responsible for the performance of the team," Larkham said via an RA media release. "We have differences in attacking strategy and overall game philosophy. We couldn't agree on these key points and it is in the best interest of the team that they receive clear and consistent messages from their coaches.

"I am obviously disappointed with this outcome as I had chosen to pursue the experience of taking the Wallabies through to the World Cup, however I am pleased to be able to continue coaching and contributing to Australian Rugby in this new role," said Larkham.

RA chief executive Raelene Castle was please Larkham would not be lost to Australian rugby altogether.

"We are very pleased that Stephen has agreed to take on this role," Castle said. "He was one of our greatest ever Wallabies and has developed a strong depth of experience during his coaching roles with the Brumbies and Qantas Wallabies.

"It was very important from Rugby Australia's perspective to retain Stephen's services and to ensure his experience is used to grow and develop coaches and players in our next generation.

"We will also look to support Stephen in his transition into another Head Coach role."

The Wallabies' Head of Athletic Preparation, Haydn Masters, will no longer continue his role either.

The changes come after Castle and RA chairman Cameron Clyne confirmed coaching tweaks would be made when announcing Scott Johnson as Australia' Director of Rugby late last year.