Australia confirm Stephen Larkham's replacement

Australia confirm Stephen Larkham's replacement

With 91 days to go before the Wallabies kick off their Rugby World Cup against Fiji in Japan, Rugby Australia have confirmed Stephen Larkham's replacement with the announcement that Shaun Berne will join the coaching staff.

Berne, who completed his Super Rugby commitments with the Melbourne Rebels earlier this week, will start his role 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.

Berne is one of three recent senior appointments with a new level of experience to surround the team in the lead up to their campaign in Japan later this year, after Head Performance Coach Dean Benton and physiotherapist Ed Hollis also joined Michael Cheika’s staff.

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 while the physiotherapist has also worked for Tottenham Football Club in the Premier League as well as the Canberra Raiders and the Australian Women’s Football team.

Wallabies Assistant Coach Shaun Berne said: “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.

“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,” Berne said.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said: “Shaun’s a great young coach and he’s going to add new energy into how we coach the players. His job will be to help players achieve their top levels of play and stay at that level more consistently,” Cheika said.

The Wallabies start their Rugby Championship campaign against South Africa in Johannesburg on Saturday 20 July before their opening home Test of the year against Argentina at Suncorp Stadium the following weekend.

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