Canberra is enemy territory

2014-05-08 00:00

BRUMBIES coach Stephen Larkham has taken a swipe at his Sharks counterpart Jake White just days before the two were due to reunite in their top-of-the-table Super Rugby clash in Canberra.

Former Springbok boss White, the director of rugby at the Durban franchise, quit the Australian outfit midway through a four-year contract last year in favour of the KwaZulu-Natal union.

That after taking the Brumbies all the way to the final, which they lost to the Chiefs.

Larkham, his assistant at the time, claims there was no succession plan left behind for the two-time champions to build on, although he insisted he did not harbour any ill feelings towards White.

“We’d briefly spoken about potentially after four years to have that transition [for me] to take over,” Larkham said.

“That was about it.

“I don’t think he was grooming me, he just thought that that might be a transition.”

Prior to the season, White had stated that there were steps in place for the Australian side to move on without him.

“The planning had started before I left in terms of where I thought the Brumbies needed to go with the next step,” the 51-year-old had stated. “I said it to the Brumbies and I thought it was time for change anyway.”

Former Wallabies star Larkham said he was shocked when White initially announced the news, adding that the pair had only spoken once since then,

The Brumbies currently top their local conference, although their 30-point haul is five fewer than the Sharks’ (35 points) ahead of their meeting on Saturday.

Larkham conceded that White would have some inside knowledge of how they played following his stint Down Under and planned to unleash a few surprises on their visitors.

“He certainly knows how we play, but by the same token we know how they play as well,” Larkham added in the Canberra Times. “It’s a very similar game. There’s a few … tactics that we’re going to introduce this week that will hopefully catch them.”

The Sharks will be playing their second game of their four-match trip, having started the tour with a bang against the Rebels in Melbourne.

They became the first South African team to win in Australasia following a 22-16 triumph at AAMI Park, with the Bulls, Stormers, Cheetahs and Lions all having lost in 13 overseas attempts during 2014.

Following the match against the Australian Capital Territories club, they visit Christchurch to play the mighty Crusaders before ending the tour against the Blues in Auckland.

White himself was anticipating an “interesting” affair against his former employers, who thrashed the Sharks 29-10 in Durban last season.

“I’m looking forward to going back there,” he added. “I think the Brumbies are playing well and it’s going to be an interesting game.

“We played really well in Durban when I was with them last year and a lot of the [Sharks] guys will still be hurting from the way they were demolished.

“So I won’t have to psych them up too much on what’s going to come in Canberra.”

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