Graham to leave Force and swap blue for red

by Neil Sherwin

Super Rugby’s Emirates Western Force today announced that they will be seeking a new head coach for the 2013 season with Richard Graham set to take up a position as an assistant at the Queensland Reds.

Graham, who only replaced John Mitchell in the role in 2011, chose to exercise an option available to either party to end his current contract at the end of the current campaign.

“The Emirates Western Force and RugbyWA gave me an opportunity to undertake my first full-time Head Coaching position and I’ll forever be grateful for that,” said Graham today.

“Perth is a wonderful place to live and play rugby and I will have no hesitation in telling that to anyone who asks me.

“I intend to do everything I can to make the back half of our season a successful one and there will be no distractions in my desire to achieve finals for the club in 2012.”

RugbyWA CEO Vern Reid has confirmed that the club is already in contact with some high profile candidates for the job and would like to install an internationally recognised name.

“We are firmly of the view that the Head Coaching position at the Emirates Western Force is a prestigious role, not only in the Super Rugby competition but globally,” he said.
“From our initial discussions there has been strong interest from coaches with a world class pedigree and expect that now that the opening will be widely known we’ll get plenty of enquiries.”

Even though he will remain at the Force until the end of the year, Graham has been removed from duties regarding the future of the club as, according to Reid, “it would be inappropriate for him to continue to be involved in the retention and recruitment process going forward”.

One of the key priorities for the Force will be securing star Wallaby David Pocock on a long term contract having lost the likes of Drew Mitchell, Matt Giteau and James O’Connor to clubs in the eastern states in recent years.


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