Sam Rolfe's coaching apprenticeship gave him a front-row seat to watch one of Australia's greatest in action and he'll use the lessons of working with Stephen Larkham to help him in his Canberra debut.
Rolfe will take the Uni-Norths Owls reins for the first time when they play the Queanbeyan Whites at Campese Field on Saturday after a two-year coaching stint in England and Scotland.
Rolfe was the ACT Brumbies' team manager before he went overseas, helping players prepare for games, being in Larkham's inner sanctum and stepping in to join training sessions.
But he also played more than 100 games for the Owls and was an assistant coach before he left at the end of 2016, and he said he wouldn't let the pressure get to him after Uni-Norths made the finals for the first time last year.
"I don't think any coach goes into a game believing they can't win," he said.
Rolfe coached rugby teams at Surrey University and Edinburgh University during his time away from the capital.
He said it was a similar environment and he really enjoyed his time there, but players in the UK were more demanding in the kind of feedback they wanted from their coaches.
"I got a lot out of just being personable and providing direct feedback. That's probably the difference," Rolfe said.
But the 30-year-old jumped at an opportunity when the first grade coaching job came up for the Owls.
"As soon as I stepped off the plane, I loved being back home," Rolfe said. "It's a really good atmosphere."
Before heading overseas, Rolfe was assistant and then interim team manager for the Brumbies, giving him the chance to watch rugby great Larkham's coaching up close.
Rolfe said the biggest thing he learnt from Larkham was about attitude and making sure he and the team were competitive in everything they did.
And that competiRead More – Source