Rugby Union


Graham starts coaching role for Reds

Former Western Force mentor Richard Graham has officially started in his new role as Queensland Reds coach for the 2013 Super Rugby season.

Graham's title is Reds head coach but he'll be the No.2 man at Ballymore under incumbent Ewen McKenzie as Queensland adopt a European coaching model with McKenzie to be the director of coaching.

McKenzie is seen as Wallabies coach Robbie Deans's obvious successor after claiming the 2011 Super Rugby title and the move to appoint Graham has allowed the Reds a less troublesome transition if there is a change at the top.

A fullback-winger for Queensland more than a decade ago, Graham's return to Ballymore comes after 10 years coaching around the world with Bath, Saracens, the Wallabies as skills coach, and the Force.

He announced his move home almost six months ago and was subsequently axed by the Force, who saw the season out with Phil Blake as interim coach before the appointment of Michael Foley for 2013.

Graham said he'll adopt the role of defence coach from Scotland-bound Matt Taylor and combine with McKenzie in devising the Reds strategy and selections.

He'll take the reins if McKenzie usurps Deans as Wallabies coach in the next year but is already scheduled to be the main man for the 2014 season when McKenzie is slated to become Queensland director of rugby.

"Queensland are in a fortunate position to transition when they choose to transition," Graham said.