Wallabies reveal Larkham's replacement
NEWS: Almost five months after moving Stephen Larkham sideways, Rugby Australia has finally appointed his replacement as Wallabies assistant coach.
Former Waratahs playmaker Shaun Berne will Michael Cheika’s coaching staff for the 2019 Rugby Championship and World Cup in Japan.
A long-time Randwick clubmate of Cheika’s, Berne completed his Super Rugby commitments with the Melbourne Rebels earlier this week and will start his new role with the Wallabies immediately.
The 40-year old has been serving as attack coach under Dave Wessels in Melbourne following stints at the Western Force and as coach of Leinster ‘A’ in Ireland.
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“This is a huge opportunity for me personally but, more importantly, I want to do whatever I can to make the Wallabies successful this year,” said Berne, who will have just five Tests to impose his skills on Cheika’s team before Australia’s World Cup opener against Fiji on September 21.
“I want to contribute to the team by focusing on the things that will serve us best when we are under pressure, like passing, catching, alignment, running lines and deception – on and off the ball.
“I just want to add wherever I can to the coaching team around me. It sounds simple but simple things done really well, all the time, will get us to where Cheik wants us to be as a team.”
Cheika hopes Berne – a one-time Australia A representative who played 38 games for NSW from 2001-06 – brings a new energy to the Wallabies squad.
“His job will be to help players achieve their top levels of play and stay at that level more consistently,” Cheika said.
Berne is one of three recent senior appointments with a new level of experience to surround the team in the lead-up to their World Cup campaign in Japan later this year, following the earlier appointments of head performance coach Dean Benton and physiotherapist Ed Hollis.
Benton was most recently England Rugby’s head of sport science but has also enjoyed successful stints at the Melbourne Storm, Brisbane Broncos, Leicester Tigers and the Brumbies.
Hollis returns to Australia following four years as head of medical services at the Leicester Tigers and has also worked for Tottenham Football Club in the Premier League as well as the Canberra Raiders and the Australian women’s soccer team.
The Wallabies open their Rugby Championship campaign against South Africa in Johannesburg on July 20.