Larkham determined to shake up the Scots

Stephen Larkham insists he shares Edinburgh’s ambitions to become a Magners League force and has vowed to “change the landscape” of Scottish rugby.

The 32-year-old stand-off, who has represented Australia 95 times and is widely recognised as one of the most influential playmakers in world rugby, will join Edinburgh in November.

He was unveiled via video-link today and has agreed a two-year contract which will see him move from the CA Brumbies after this autumn’s IRB World Cup.

Larkham said: “I think it’s very important to have ambitions.

“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.”

Larkham said: “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.”

It has often been suggested the big-name southern hemisphere stars who accept lucrative contracts in Europe are well past their sell-by date by the time they make the move.

Larkham was keen to dismiss the notion he had joined for an easy ride and big money.

“Firstly, I don’t see this as the end of my career,” he said.

“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.

“We certainly shopped around and I believe that Edinburgh offers the best environment to play rugby in.

“I’m certainly keen to make a difference at Edinburgh and help change the landscape not only of Edinburgh rugby but also Scottish rugby.

“In terms of all the nations over in Europe, I think Scottish rugby probably has the most potential to grow, and can do with some experience from players around the world.

“So rather than going to France or England I would prefer to make an impact in Scotland.”

Larkham insisted his body is ready to endure another couple of years of punishment, despite the fact his slight frame has already been put through the mincer countless times during nearly 11 years of playing international rugby.

He said: “I am very confident at the moment. I had a pretty good year last year in which I missed three games for the Brumbies but played the full international season.

“And this year I’ve missed three games again for the Brumbies, but I’ve bounced back from that injury.

“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.

“Preparations for the World Cup are the priority at the moment, and I think I’m in pretty good shape for that, and after that I’ll be in really good shape.”

Larkham is understood to have turned down several offers from England and France, and he pointed to the professional manner in which Edinburgh approached the contract negotiations as a key factor in his decision to join a club who have yet to make a major impact in either the Magners League or the Heineken Cup.

He said: “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.

“Then, from my own experiences of going over to Europe, I’ve always enjoyed Edinburgh.

“I’ve always really liked the scenery, and I love the people. So it was pretty easy to make a decision to come to Edinburgh, not only because it is a beautiful city, but because of the professionalism they have shown towards us.”

Larkham’s signature on a two-year contract represents a major triumph for the owners of Edinburgh Rugby, who have endured a difficult first year at the club.A strained relationship with the Scottish Rugby Union and the loss of several key players this summer – including Simon Taylor, Rob Dew

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