Rugby Union

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Graham upbeat despite Force out

NEW Reds coach Richard Graham says he has ''no regrets'' about his move east from the Western Force, six months after being shown the door.

Graham started in his new role this week as head coach of last year's Super Rugby champions, and said his sudden departure from the Force, after announcing he would be joining the Reds next year, was a part of life in professional sport.

''[I was] obviously disappointed that I was asked to leave … but I made a decision and there's always a reaction to something like that,'' he said. ''I don't regret making the decision because ultimately I gave a lot of thought to it, I was very honest and transparent to the organisation, and they made a decision about what they thought was best for the organisation, so [you] move on.''

The Force had a nightmare second half of the season after the players and board asked Graham to leave in April. Captain David Pocock announced his move to the Brumbies, and the team managed just one win, over wooden-spooners the Lions, in eight games.

But Graham, now knee-deep in pre-season preparations after spending two months on the road working in clubs and schools around the state, said he had thought very little about his old province since leaving.

''I don't [feel for them] because a lot of decisions are made on the back of other decisions,'' he said. ''I've never come out and said anything about why I left and I won't. Sport is cyclical, you ride the crest when you're at the top and you try to hold it for as long as you possibly can.''

Under what the club calls a European-style coaching structure, Graham is ''head coach'', responsible for the pre-season program and the Reds' defence on the field, while wen McKenzie is director of coaching.