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Graham exits the Force in shock decision

Date

Simon White

Coach Richard Graham (right) is departing at season's end but keeping David Pocock will be a priority for the Western Force.

Coach Richard Graham (right) is departing at season's end but keeping David Pocock will be a priority for the Western Force.

Western Force coach Richard Graham will quit the club at season's end and take up a position with the Queensland Reds.

Graham's shock departure announcement today will mean the Force - currently last of the Australian Super Rugby sides with two wins from eight games - will enter next season with a third head coach in the space of eight years.

The Force, which was informed of Graham's decision a "short time" ago says it is already casting the net far and wide to find its new coach.

"We are firmly of the view that the head coaching position at the Western Force is a prestigious role, not only in the Super Rugby competition but globally,” RugbyWA CEO Vern Reid said.

Graham's contract was up for renewal at the end of this season but he instead opted to take up an offer from last year's Super Rugby champions, the Reds.

"Purely from a personal standing as a career coach I felt it was something I needed to do but I wish to make it clear that it is in no way a reflection on RugbyWA or the Western Force," Graham said.

"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."

While Graham will coach on to the end of the season, there will be one immediate change at the Force, with current rugby general manager Mitch Hardy and Reid to handle all recruitment and retention duties.

The Force's most immediate priority entering the off-season is to hang on to Wallabies star and captain David Pocock, who is reportedly a recruiting target of the Melbourne Rebels.

Graham took over the reins of the Force from John Mitchell for the 2011 season.

The Force won five of 18 games last season with two draws and could not hang on to another prized asset James O'Connor, who made the switch to the Melbourne Rebels.

It has been reported Graham will succeed Ewen McKenzie as Reds coach.

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Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
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Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
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Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
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Round 4
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RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
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BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
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Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
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Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
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IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
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ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
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Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG 26 vs AUS 17 Report Stats
WAL 12 vs RSA 6 Report Stats
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