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Super Rugby backflips on deal to allow ACT Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham to act as waterboy

Stephen Larkham has been denied his waterboy dream by SANZAR.

Stephen Larkham has been denied his waterboy dream by SANZAR.

Super Rugby officials have backflipped on a decision to allow ACT Brumbies head coach Stephen Larkham to double as a waterboy, banning him from being on the field this season.

It's understood Super Rugby's governing body, SANZAR, bowed to pressure from rival coaches and is also considering rewriting guidelines to close any loopholes that would allow a senior coach to enter the field of play.

Fairfax Media revealed last week that rookie head coach Larkham had been granted SANZAR approval to maintain his role as Brumbies waterboy, given director of rugby at the Brumbies Laurie Fisher would be the man in charge from the coach's box on game day.

But it's also understood rival Super Rugby coaches contacted SANZAR this week to express concerns, given it could have opened the door for Larkham to give directions to players on the field.

International Rugby Board and SANZAR protocols specify that no head coach is allowed to run water.

SANZAR backtracked on its initial approval - which was given in November last year.

The Brumbies and Larkham will not contest the decision, saying they're happy to adhere with SANZAR's ruling. SANZAR declined to comment on Friday.

''We understand SANZAR's decision, we accept it and we're happy to work with them moving forward this season,'' Larkham said.

''We are only concerned about preparing for the start of the season and our game against the [Queensland] Reds [at Canberra Stadium on February 22].''

But the application of rules over the waterboy saga has become more farcical than the Adam Sandler comedy hit of the same name.

The ban applies to ''head coaches'', but it's understood the Super Rugby guidelines could be changed in the future to include a director of rugby role in the rule.

Larkham has been the Brumbies' waterboy for the past three years and had stated his desire to retain the role.

The former Australian Wallabies and Brumbies play-maker, who retired from playing Super Rugby in 2007, felt he got a better feel for the game on the field.

''You miss out on the emotion and communication if you're up in a coach's box,'' Larkham said last weekend.

''I think getting on and giving messages yourself is quite important. This way we can get two perspectives on the game and I can get on the field. I'm looking forward to that again.''

It's understood the Brumbies are still seeking clarity on where their coaches will be allowed to be during matches.

In the past, Wallabies mentor Ewen McKenzie was told by officials to return to the coach's box when he was spotted on the sideline as coach of the Reds.

Larkham has taken over as Brumbies head coach this season from former World Cup-winning mentor Jake White.

The Brumbies will play their final official trial match against an ACT XV at Viking Park on Saturday night.

Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR vs AUS 01:30Twic
USA vs NZL 07:00Soldier Field
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA vs SAM 01:00Stadio Del Duca
ENG vs NZL 01:30Twic
WAL vs AUS 01:30MilS
FRA vs FJI 03:45Stade Velodrome
IRE vs RSA 04:30Lansdowne Road
SCO vs ARG 04:30Murrayfield Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA vs ARG 01:00Stadio Comunale Luigi Ferraris
ENG vs RSA 01:30Twic
WAL vs FJI 01:30MilS
SCO vs NZL 04:30Murrayfield Stadium
FRA vs AUS 07:00StdF
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE vs GEO 01:30Lansdowne Road
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA vs RSA 01:00Stadio Plebiscito
SCO vs TGA 01:30Rugby Park
IRE vs AUS 03:30Lansdowne Road
WAL vs NZL 04:30MilS
ENG vs SAM 06:00Twic
FRA vs ARG 07:00StdF
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG vs AUS 01:30Twic
WAL vs RSA 01:30MilS
View All Fixtures
 
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