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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.

HuffPost Australia

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00Leicester City Stadium
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 3 3 0 0 97 13
Wales 3 3 0 0 58 13
England 3 1 2 0 1 6
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 3 0 3 0 -139 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 3 2 1 0 56 11
Scotland 3 2 1 0 40 10
Japan 3 2 1 0 -12 8
Samoa 3 1 2 0 -52 4
USA 2 0 2 0 -32 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 3 3 0 0 87 14
Argentina 3 2 1 0 64 10
Tonga 3 1 2 0 -22 6
Georgia 3 1 2 0 -71 4
Namibia 2 0 2 0 -58 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 3 3 0 0 84 14
France 3 3 0 0 72 14
Italy 3 1 2 0 -24 5
Romania 3 1 2 0 -59 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
View all

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