Rugby Union

Brumbies 'confident' Queensland Reds won't poach coach Stephen Larkham

The Queensland Reds might have pinched their captain, but the ACT Brumbies are "confident" they won't pinch their coach as well.

The Reds sacked coach Richard Graham on Monday in the aftermath to Saturday's 22-6 loss to the Western Force at Suncorp Stadium.

The Brumbies are confident the Queensland Reds won't poach Stephen Larkham.
The Brumbies are confident the Queensland Reds won't poach Stephen Larkham. Photo: Jay Cronan

Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham is off contract at the end of the season and has the Brumbies on top of the Super Rugby ladder and favourites for the title.

He also played a major role in the Wallabies making the World Cup final last year as Michael Cheika's backs coach.

It makes him an obvious Reds target to replace Graham.

Graham's assistants, Matt O'Connor and Nick Stiles, will co-coach the Reds for the rest of the season, with the Super Rugby cellar dwellers expecting the search for a new coach to take three to four months.

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Queensland already have Stephen Moore heading north at the end of the season, after the Wallabies skipper shocked the Brumbies by signing a three-year deal to join the Reds.

It would be major coup if they could land their coach as well.

But Brumbies chief executive Michael Jones was confident that wouldn't happen.

"We've already started discussions in relation to his new contract and a Wallabies contract, so I think the chance of him going to Brisbane are none and zero," Jones said.

"A) he wouldn't want to do it, is my guess, and secondly I'm pretty confident that we'll re-sign him because we've already had quite an extensive discussion.

"I'm not concerned about it at all."

Stiles was the Reds forwards coach and guided Brisbane City to back-to-back National Rugby Championship titles, while O'Connor joined Queensland as attack coach for this season.

The Reds conducted a review in August and backed Graham to lead them in 2016, but have sacked him after losing the opening two games. 

Graham felt he still had the support of the players.

"You'd always like more games. The organisation has to make decisions. At the end of the day, I don't think the timing is ever right, but that's the nature of the business," he said.

"The review took place back in August and since that point of time, I've felt supported and with a fair bit of clarity to plan and prepare.

"But the organisation has made a decision on the last couple of weeks. I don't feel aggrieved.

"I felt I had the support of the group and love the place, I'm passionate about the place. But I'm a realist and understand decisions will be made on performances. That's happened.

"I'm gutted. Disappointed. It's been a hugely emotional day because I care about the place deeply and want to see it do well."

Meanwhile, Jones said "rules were rules" and he wouldn't comment on the World Rugby rule that will allow NSW Waratahs hooker Tolu Latu to serve his one-game suspension in a pre-season game for Sydney University.

World Rugby considers every game equal when it comes to suspensions, whether it's the World Cup final or a pre-season club game, and will allow Latu to serve his ban during the Waratahs' bye.

He got the ban for striking Matt Toomua, leaving the Brumbies inside centre with a broken nose.

It's a massive bonus for the Waratahs, who lost regular starting hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau with a broken wrist.

"The rules are the rules and they apply both ways, so if we'd been on the other end of it - I'm not going to say it's good or a bad rule, the rules are the rules," Jones said.

- with Phil Lutton

SUPER RUGBY ROUND THREE

Friday: ACT Brumbies v Western Force in Perth, 10.05pm. Live on Fox Sports 2.