Rugby Union


Force changes structure

After seven seasons of pain, disappointment and frustration, the Western Force is banking on a new coaching structure to bring it Super Rugby success.

The first piece of the puzzle has already been secured, with former Waratahs coach Michael Foley joining the Force on a three-year deal.

Foley's role will be vastly different to the one he performed at NSW, with the 45-year-old to take on responsibilities more akin to a coaching director.

The Force is yet to finalise the specifics on titles, but Foley is planning to take charge of the broader rugby program while delegating a large portion of the day-to-day coaching duties to his yet-to-be-named senior assistant.

The structure will be similar to the one Queensland has set up for next season, where Ewen McKenzie will step up to the director of coaching role and Richard Graham will be largely responsible for coaching the side.

John Mulvihill, who was among the applicants for the role Foley snared, remains in contention for the senior assistant's job at the Force.


Nick Stiles will retain his role as forwards coach, while backs coach Phil Blake has parted ways with the franchise.

And in another change at the Force, foundation player Matt Hodgson has replaced Brumbies-bound Wallaby David Pocock as skipper for the time being, with a final decision on who will captain the side in 2013 to be made prior to next season.

The Force has failed to make the finals since its inception in 2006, with the Perth-based franchise finishing second last in 2012 after managing just three wins from 16 games.

But Foley is confident he can get the Force back on track, and says he's more than happy to delegate a large portion of the coaching duties to someone else in order to get everything else in order.

''Taking a step back is not a problem for me,'' Foley said yesterday.

''The thing I want here is success for the team. I like the thought of being able to lead the program and to be responsible for the outcomes. It's uniquely different to what I was doing at the Waratahs.

''The Waratahs was very much on the field only. There'll be both aspects to the role here. I'll be hands-on with the team, but we want to leave the door open for the best possible candidate to lead our attacking game.

''We need somebody with experience and definitely a proven track record that they can coach the type of game that we want.''

Foley said he left NSW with a heavy heart, but believed it was the right decision to make, saying: ''The decision for me has been something I've anguished over.''