Coach puts Force in turmoil
Perth - The Western Force are in turmoil after reportedly letting coach Richard Graham leave mid-season following his decision to join the Reds in 2013.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald website, there is speculation suggesting former rugby league star and Force assistant coach Phil Blake is the leading candidate to replace Graham. The Force have a bye this weekend and return to the field next Saturday at home against the Stormers.
Graham announced earlier this week he would be heading to the Reds next season on a three-year deal to replace Ewen McKenzie, who will become coaching director of the defending Super Rugby champions.
The appropriateness of Graham coaching the Force through to the end of the season has been the subject of much discussion on Perth radio this week and it is believed several players were upset by their coach's decision to return to his home state.
Wallabies star David Pocock, reportedly a recruiting target for the Melbourne Rebels, is out of contract at season's end and retaining his services is especially vital for the Force, given Nathan Sharpe's impending retirement.
The dramatic development only adds to the Force's woes this season, as they sit anchored to the bottom of the Australian Conference with just two wins.
If Graham does depart immediately, his coaching record will stand at just seven wins from 26 games, after the Force won five of 18 games in 2011 and lost prized asset James O'Connor to the Rebels.
It has been reported a board meeting is required to ratify Graham's immediate departure.