Super Rugby
Ashley-Cooper behind Friend sacking?
ESPNscrum Staff
March 3, 2011
The Brumbies' Adam Ashley-Cooper looks for an opening, Brumbies v Cheetahs, Super 14, Canberra Stadium, Canberra, Australia, April 10, 2010
Brumbies star Adam Ashley-Cooper was reportedly behind the sacking of coach Andy Friend © Getty Images

Brumbies centre Adam Ashley-Cooper has been revealed as a key player in the sacking of coach Andy Friend.

The Wallabies international, one of two players' representatives on the Brumbies board, was reportedly considering a move to Australian rivals the Waratahs next season if Friend remained in the coaching hot seat. "I'm not certain that was his principal issue by any means, but it was one of the issues," Brumbies chief executive Andrew Fagan told The Australian.

The newspaper reports that Ashley-Cooper, who re-signed with the ARU last month but is yet to confirm his Super Rugby plans, did not take a leading role in the board meeting that led to Friend's dismissal but nor did he distance himself from the issue. "He was asked if the coaching was an issue for him and he said it was," Fagan said.

It remains unclear whether Ashley-Cooper will now commit his future to the Brumbies but Fagan is hopeful. "He and I will catch up on that next week," he added. "We had planned to sit down with Adam then anyway."

New attack coach Steve Larkham, whose father Geoff is Brumbies president and a member of the board, was rumoured to have been involved in Friend's downfall but Fagan denied he was being groomed for the role. "No, no more than the two other assistant coaches, Marco Caputo or Justin Harrison, are being groomed for it," he insisted.

Meanwhile, Tony Rea, who has been appointed interim coach for the remainder of the Super Rugby season, wants to put a troubling week behind him. "It has been a reasonably turbulent week, so we are looking for a bit of stability in the team," he said. "A lot of guys want to get back after the performance of last week where they were not really happy with themselves as a rugby team."

Loose forward Colby Faingaa moves from the bench to replace the suspended Mitchell Chapman at blindside against the Reds this weekend, in the only change to the side beaten by the Rebels last time out.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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