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Brumbies sack Friend

Less than 24 hours after holding clear-the-air talks with his players, Andy Friend has been sacked as coach of the ACT Brumbies.

The club announced Friend's sacking on Tuesday and appointed assistant coach Tony Rea as caretaker boss until the end of the season.

Under pressure since falling out with his players last season, Friend's position was undermined further by the Brumbies' shattering one-point loss to Super 15 new boys the Melbourne Rebels last weekend.

That defeat prompted a crisis meeting with the players, after which Friend revealed that one member of the team had been cautioned for speaking to the media about internal issues. But he gave no indication at the time that his own tenure was in doubt.

"It's always disappointing when you get these grumblings happening," he said. "But again, it's managing people, 40 people are never all going to be happy with the decisions you're making.

"(So) I wouldn't say it's been an easy couple of weeks but I've dealt with tougher things in my life."

Friend is understood to have lost support of his players following an argument with Australia captain Rocky Elsom in a team meeting last season.

The coach was apparently also overruled by the players over his plans to install Darren Coleman as the Brumbies' attack coach.

The players plumped for Steve Larkham, who was ultimately appointed.

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