Date: May 12 2012
Wallabies great Stephen Larkham admits he ''would love one more crack'' at Super Rugby but is adamant the ACT Brumbies are best served with him calling the shots as the back-line coach.
Larkham was inundated with messages on Thursday encouraging him to make a comeback after Brumbies coach Jake White said he wanted to lure the 37-year-old out of retirement.
But Larkham said he never seriously considered a shock return and joked he would struggle to complete consecutive training sessions.
The Brumbies went on an international search to find an experienced player to add to their ranks after Christian Lealiifano broke his ankle. White called Larkham last Saturday night to sound him out about playing again.
The Brumbies need a proven player to fill the void and Larkham, Matt Giteau and Peter Hewat were White's three best options.
Despite White being keen, Larkham was reluctant and unsure if he could physically cope with the increased Super Rugby tempo and physicality.
While a Larkham comeback would have been a fairytale in the Brumbies' impressive resurgence, White decided Hewat was the best fit for his team on a short-term deal.
Larkham helped the Wallabies to a World Cup triumph in 1999 and retired from Super Rugby in 2007.
''I think as a past player you always think about getting out there again,'' Larkham told The Canberra Times.
''You love the game and do miss that aspect, but it's about being realistic and doing what's best for the team.
''I'm sure every player would love one more crack but we've got guys who are fit and training well.
''For me, my job is to get these guys better and I feel they've made a lot of progress this year.
''No [I didn't contemplate it] … it would be selfish, I might understand all the plays but actually getting out there and getting through two training sessions in a row would be difficult, I'm not conditioned.''
The Brumbies will return to training tomorrow after being given the past week to recharge before their clash with the Wellington Hurricanes in New Zealand on Friday.
Hewat will join the squad as a utility capable of playing wing, fullback or flyhalf. With first-choice playmakers Lealiifano and Matt Toomua out for the rest of the season, Hewat, Robbie Coleman and Zack Holmes are three candidates to fill the No.10 jersey.
Hewat scored 365 points in his 27 Super Rugby games between 2005-2007. Holmes earned a Super Rugby contract after impressive performances for the Australian Sevens team, but has seen limited game time from the Brumbies' bench this season.
Coleman started the year as White's first-choice fullback, but has added a versatile attacking spark from the bench since making a comeback from injury.
Larkham said all three were capable of continuing the Brumbies' strong form.
They sit at the top of the Australian conference with six games remaining and are within reach of a return to the finals for the first time since 2004.
''Zack played a couple of pre-season games for us at No.10 and he's very quick and very powerful in attack,'' Larkham said. ''He suits the style we play and is a courageous defender with a good kicking game.
''Robbie has come back from his injury and has a really good skill-set for No.10 … he's a great attacker, he throws himself in defence.
''[Hewat] just brings maturity, he's been playing good football at flyhalf and fullback and his game has sped up a little bit while he's been playing in Japan. His reading of the game is outstanding and then you add to that he's an exceptional goal-kicker.''
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