Gre­gan joins White at Brumbies

Weekend Witness - - Sport -

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.

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