THE worst kept secret in Munster rugby is officially out; forwards coach Laurie Fisher is returning to his native Australia.
Incoming ACT Brumbies coach Jake White confirmed yesterday that former head coach Fisher, who was sacked by the Super Rugby franchise in 2008, will join Australian World Cup winner Steve Larkham as White’s coaching assistants in 2012.
“At this point in time, Laurie has been appointed forwards coach and within that framework he has to use whoever he feels is going to add value to the team,” White, who led the Springboks to the 2007 World Cup, said.
“I’m not going to be forcing anything on Laurie. He knows what he’s good at. He knows what he needs.
“It will all go through me as head coach, but at the end of the day I don’t want to be imposing anything on him. He’s got to start with a blank paper.”
Since arriving in Australia this week, White has been in a whirlwind of meetings with the Australian Rugby Union (ARU), Brumbies staff, Sydney club coaches, current and prospective players, indeed with anyone who might value-add to an organisation mired in its worst ever season.
Retired Wallabies coach John Connolly, who led Australia to the quarter-finals of the 2007 World Cup in France, believes Fisher’s arrival will make a huge impact on the Brumbies team culture.
“Laurie’s an outstanding coach and one of the few who really understands the game and how to get the best out his players,” he said.
“He’s done a great job at Munster and the respect in which he’s held is a credit to himself.
“He’s the right man to work with Jake White and get the Brumbies playing as a team and winning more games.”
Record-breaking former Australia captain George Gregan, the winner of two Super Rugby titles with the Brumbies in 2001 and 2004, has also been recruited as part of White’s backroom team, but not even the presence of two Wallabies legends in Gregan and Larkham is likely to persuade former Leinster star Rocky Elsom to remain in Canberra.
“We’ve got to have plans either way to make sure if he goes we’re not going to be left high and dry and if he does want to stay whether he will complement the players we’ve got,” White said.
“There’s nothing I can do until he’s [Elsom] happy with his ARU deal. The Brumbies cannot wait; we have to plan and control the things we can control.”
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