THE coast is clear for Gloucester to confirm the capture of Australian Laurie Fisher as their new head coach.
Fisher’s current club, Super Rugby franchise the ACT Brumbies yesterday confirmed that their director of rugby would be departing for Europe at the end of the current campaign.
And the Citizen understands his destination will be Kingsholm, with a deal so close to being finalised that the club have already applied for a work visa.
Following their Super Rugby defeat to the New South Wales Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday, the Brumbies confirmed changes to their management structure.
Former Wallabies fly-half Stephen Larkham has agreed a new three-year contract with the Canberra-based outfit and will take on extra responsibilities following Fisher’s departure.
Larkham will remain in his position as head coach while the Brumbies will not replace Fisher, who was director of rugby at the GIO Stadium.
Confirming the forward-coaching specialist would be departing for Europe, Brumbies chairman Sean Hammond paid tribute to the former Munster coach’s work with the club.
“Laurie has always indicated he was keen on returning to Europe to coach so we have made provisions around that transition over the last 18 months,” Hammond said.
“It’s a testament to the quality of our program and coaching staff that they continually find themselves on the radars of other clubs and we wish Laurie all the best.
“I’d like to thank Laurie for his contribution to the Brumbies. Since the turn of the century he’s been involved with shaping the club and has been responsible for turning countless players into household names.”
Fisher’s decision to move back to Europe was announced to the Brumbies’ players ahead of Saturday’s Australian Conference derby with the Waratahs.
Larkham explained there was an outpouring of emotion from the massed ranks of players as they learned their trusted director of rugby was departing.
“The guys were quite emotional, they all gave him 30 seconds of applause when the team was informed,” Larkham said.
“They gave him a hug and then we got on the bus to Sydney.”
The move to secure the services of top-class boss Fisher as their new head coach will complete a major overhaul of the Kingsholm coaching structure.
Since Nigel Davies was sacked as director of rugby at the end of the miserable 2013/14 season, chairman Ryan Walkinshaw and chief executive Stephen Vaughan have scoured the globe for a new backroom team.
Irishman David Humphreys has already been installed as director of rugby, leaving a similar role at Heineken Cup semi-finalists Ulster to take the Kingsholm hotseat.
Australian defensive mastermind John Muggleton and England Under-20s supremo Nick Walshe joined the club last week as defence coach and attack and backs coach respectively.
The club are also believed to be in contact with former Gloucester favourite and 2003 World Cup winner Trevor Woodman about remaining as specialist scrum coach.
Gloucester refused to comment on the news Fisher will be leaving his post as Brumbies boss, insisting they will make no announcement until the move is finalised.
Fisher’s Brumbies commitments could end as early as July 11 if they fail to beat the Western Force and earn a place in the Super Rugby knockout finals.
The finals series is then played out over the next three weekends with the grand final taking place on August 2, five weeks before the start of the Aviva Premiership season.