Rugby - Super 15

Force to wait on Cheika coach offer

The Western Force are hoping to unveil Michael Cheika as their new Super Rugby coach next week.

 
Force to wait on Cheika - Rugby - Super 15Icon Sport
 

Cheika, who led Leinster to the Heineken Cup title before spending two years at French outfit Stade Francais, is rumoured to have already been offered the Force role but is yet to decide whether to take it up.

The Force are desperate to lock in their new coach soon so they can switch their full attention to convincing captain David Pocock to stay at the Perth-based franchise.

Pocock's contract runs out at the end of the year, with the Brumbies and Rebels in hot pursuit of the Wallabies star.

Force stalwart Nathan Sharpe, who played his 162nd and final Super Rugby game in Saturday night's 38-24 loss to the Crusaders in Christchurch, said it was crucial for the Force to retain the services of Pocock.

"He's a great guy to build the club around," Sharpe said. "He's a world-class player, he's captain of the club.

"You need a player like that to have a solid foundation moving forward."

The Force finished 2012 in 14th place after netting just three wins from 16 games, with their points tally of 27 just two clear of the last-placed Lions.

The mid-season defection of coach Richard Graham to the Reds rocked the Force, who won just one of eight games under stand-in coach Phil Blake.

Blake said he thoroughly enjoyed jumping into the hot seat despite the lack of success, but is now unsure of his future with a new coach coming in.

"Usually with new coaches you get new staff," Blake said. "If he sees me fit for a role, then I'm happy to talk.

"If he wants to bring new staff, then I've thoroughly enjoyed my couple of years here at the club.

"My wife's in Perth but my two kids are in Sydney. It's not an ideal situation but it's worked over the last 18 months. My daughter's an adult and my young fella's finishing year 12.

"I haven't seen much of them in the past 18 months so that will certainly come into consideration where football takes me with my next decision."

Sharpe said he was sad his time with the Force had come to an end.

And even though the Force have failed to qualify for the finals after seven years in the competition, inaugural skipper Sharpe said he had no regrets about defecting from the Reds at the end of 2005.

 - Eurosport
 
 
 
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