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Last Updated: Monday, 14 May 2007, 14:24 GMT 15:24 UK
Edinburgh clinch Larkham signing
Stephen Larkham
Stephen Larkham thinks Edinburgh will be good for his young family
Australia and Brumbies fly-half Stephen Larkham has signed for Edinburgh and vowed to help transform Scottish rugby.

The 32-year-old, one of the world's most influential playmakers, will begin a two-year contract in November.

"I'm keen to make a difference at Edinburgh and help change the landscape not only of Edinburgh Rugby but also Scottish rugby," he said.

"In terms of all the nations over in Europe, I think Scottish rugby probably has the most potential to grow."

Larkham is understood to have turned down several offers from England and France for his services after this summer's World Cup.

"The level of professionalism shown by Edinburgh in terms of contract negotiations was by far and away better than any other club that we negotiated with," he revealed by video link to an Edinburgh news conference.

"Then, from my own experiences of going over to Europe, I've always enjoyed Edinburgh.
It is our intention to bring some silverware to Edinburgh in the next five years

Edinburgh executive chairman Alex Carruthers

"I've always really liked the scenery and I love the people."

Edinburgh Rugby's franchise holders have endured a difficult first year at the club, with a strained relationship with the Scottish Rugby Union.

A disappointing end to the Magners League season followed the announcement that several key players, including Simon Taylor, Rob Dewey and Dougie Hall, would be leaving in the summer.

But Larkham said: "Looking at some of the players already there, such as Mike Blair and Chris Paterson, there is a lot of potential in the squad.

"Coming from Brumbies, I am used to being involved in the building of a successful team.

"At the Brumbies, we have always strived to be the best team in the competition, even if we don't always have the best players in the competition, so I think I am coming from a similar background.

"I can probably bring a few ideas over from my time with the Brumbies and with the Wallabies and hopefully I can bring a winning culture such as we have had at both those teams over the years."

Since making his debut in 1996, Larkham has played 95 Tests, with 24 tries, and was part of Australia's World Cup-winning team in 1999.

His most recent international was against Scotland at Murrayfield in November.

And he rejected any suggestions that he was just the latest big-name southern hemisphere star to head to Europe for lucrative contracts when past their sell-by date.

"I don't see this as the end of my career," he said.

"I've had my fair amount of injuries over the piece, but at the moment I'm still very mentally fresh and I'm quite physically fresh too.

"I'm looking to play for a considerable number of years yet.

"The other point is that Edinburgh weren't the highest bidders in terms of my services."

Edinburgh executive chairman Alex Carruthers revealed that talks had began with Larkham in December and he was delighted to have secured "one of the world's most influential players".

"This shows the level of ambition we have brought as new owners of Edinburgh Rugby," said Carruthers.

"We have said all along that it is our intention to be challenging for honours and it is our intention to bring some silverware to Edinburgh in the next five years."

SEE ALSO
Hadden happy at Larkham signing
17 May 07 |  Edinburgh


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