Gregan joins White at Brumbies
CANBERRA — The Brumbies have secured their dream coaching combination after Jake White met George Gregan in Sydney this week.
But while scrumhalf great Gregan will reunite with Stephen Larkham and tutor the next generation of playmakers, the Brumbies have conceded it is highly unlikely Wallabies skipper Rocky Elsom will be in Canberra next year.
New coach White is in Australia to start finalising his coaching staff and player recruitment and retention before he takes over from Tony Rea.
According to Rugby Heaven correspondent Chris Dutton, after White’s meeting with Gregan, the coaching structure is now finalised. Gregan and Eddie Jones will act as consultant coaches with Larkham (backs) and Laurie Fisher (forwards) as White’s full-time assistants.
The playing roster is less certain with at least six spots vacant and Elsom’s future still unclear as he waits for his ARU deal to be complete.
However, the Brumbies’ abundance of loose forwards is likely to lead to Elsom’s departure. Stephen Hoiles, Ita Vaea, Fotu Auelua, Colby Faingaa and Peter Kimlin are already contracted for the 2012 season.
White wants to find players who add balance to the forwards he already has. “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.”
The Brumbies — and all Australian Super Rugby teams — have to reduce their playing squads to 30 next season. Hoiles’s future was dependant on a favourable medical report on his troublesome Achilles problem. But after White met club and Australian Institute of Sport medical staff, Hoiles will see out the final year of his contract with the Brumbies.
Gregan’s return to the Brumbies — where he won two Super Rugby titles, in 2001 and 2004 alongside Larkham at flyhalf — is a massive boost to the franchise. Now White is hopeful the success the duo had as players will help inspire his squad to re-establish the Brumbies as a Super Rugby contender. — Sport 24.