Rugby - Super 15

Force closing in on new coach

The Western Force are set to decide on their new Super Rugby coach within the next week and won't sign any new players until the appointment is made.

 
Force close on new coach - Rugby - Super 15PA Sport
 

Heineken Cup-winning coach Michael Cheika, who recently left his post at French club Stade Francais, is in line to replace the departed Richard Graham.

Others rumoured to be in the mix include former Force assistant John Mulvihill, former Wales and Wallabies assistant Scott Johnson and ex-Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan.

Force chief executive Vern Reid said the panel in charge of selecting the new coach was halfway through the interview process and planned to make a final decision within the next week.

The Force would then wait until the contract had been signed off before formally unveiling their new man to the public.

"We're trying to get this done as quickly as we can, but we also know we have to make the right decision," Reid said.

"Most of those who we've interviewed already have coaching contracts, so it would be unfair to identify them in this process."

Reid said the Force's recruiters had lined up several players to potentially join the club for next season, but any final decision would be left up to the new coach.

"There's a number of players we are negotiating the financial details with, subject to the appointment of the coach and his recommendation either for or against," Reid said.

Out-of-contract skipper David Pocock has been kept closely in the loop about the coaching situation.

Reid said although the star Wallaby wouldn't have a formal say on the final decision, his opinion would be expressed through player representative Scott Staniforth, who is part of the selection panel.

"They (Pocock and Nathan Sharpe) are not involved in speaking with the candidates, but they're aware and they're supportive of who we've interviewed," Reid said.

"We've been in very earnest discussions with David for a long time.

"We're aware of his immediate aims and we're very astutely trying to accommodate his wishes. We're certainly doing everything we possibly can to keep him in Perth."

Pocock (groin) and fellow flanker Matt Hodgson (ankle) are set to miss Saturday's clash with the Blues in Auckland, leaving the struggling Force bereft of options in the back row following on from Ben McCalman's season-ending shoulder injury.

 - Eurosport
 
 
 
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