Stephen Larkham has been axed as Australia attack coach seven months before the Rugby World Cup.
Larkham was appointed by Michael Cheika ahead of the last World Cup in England but has been relieved of his duties due to a difference in attacking strategy between himself and the head coach.
The 44-year-old former fly-half, who was part of the Wallabies team that won the 1999 World Cup, will remain in the Rugby Australia set-up, taking up a national coaching advisor role.
Larkham’s sacking comes after it was announced late last year that Scott Johnson will leave his role with Scottish Rugby after the Six Nations to take over as Wallabies director of rugby.
Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle said: “During the post-season review when they came back and obviously looked at the Wallabies performance, everyone identified that the Wallabies didn’t play well enough [last year] or consistently enough and therefore deliver results.
“So, when they sat down and had those conversations there was a philosophical difference between the attacking styles and, ultimately, they agreed that for Bernie [Larkham] to move on was the right thing to do.
“Michael consulted with Scott and explained to him what he was going to do and his rationale, so he was involved in the process.”
Castle revealed that no decision will be made on a replacement for Larkham until after Johnson has started work.
“There’s no rush. We have identified some people but there’s certainly no rush on that appointment and we’d like Scott to be involved in that process,” she said.
“Other assistant coaches are still in place an that’s the coaching team with the addition of a new attack coach that Cheik believes will be the team to take them through to the World Cup.”
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