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Thread: Richard Graham unloads on the Sydney Club in Inside Rugby Magazine!

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    Richard Graham unloads on the Sydney Club in Inside Rugby Magazine!

    Geez and tough interview to get first up!

    Says that Mitch left a strong legacy, there is more WA kids in the Force and Rugby WA are making players play in the Perth Comp, so they should!

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    Here is the full interview from the magazine

    Richard Congratulations on your appointment, How have you settling in and were you surprised when the opportunity to take the coaching reins of the Emirates Western Force?
    Thank you very much, I’m enjoying the challenge so far! I wasn’t really surprised as such with the amount of media speculation and generally where there is smoke there is fire. I suppose in this case the opportunity for John to explore other career opportunities was just too good to pass up. It has provided me with a fantastic opportunity to take on the role of Head Coach here at the Emirates Western Force.

    You were with the Qantas Wallabies until this appointment , what are the things you have learnt from Robbie Deans and John Mitchell?

    I’ve been fortunate to have worked with some outstanding rugby coaches, each of whom I have been able to learn a lot from.Mostly recently it was Robbie Deans, his great strength as a coach is his unwavering belief in what he is doing and you can see that now with how the Wallabies are shaping up. John Mitchell is outstanding in his development of younger players. David Pocock, Richard Brown, James O’Connor, Pek Cowan and Ben McCalman are all good examples of his dedication in this area. In terms of my development as a coach, the most influential person I’ve ever worked under was Eddie Jones. He has a great rugby brain and was always so well prepared.

    With John Mitchell’s move to the Lions , what is the legacy that Mitch has left the Force and have you caught up with him since his attack ?

    His legacy is simply the amount of Wallabies he’s produced. Our mission here in the West is to grow rugby and grow Wallabies and he certainly did that in his five years here. I have caught up with John recently, he is doing well after the shocking incident in which he was attacked in his apartment in Johannesburg. He’s on the mend and I look forward to meeting up with him again when we play the Lions on March 20 in Johannesburg!

    You have also taken on board Phil Blake, as the new Defence and Skills Coach for the Force , what will will he bring to the Force


    It was apparent in talking with Phil that he is very passionate about the defensive aspect of the game and driven to see his teams do well. We’re delighted to have him, think he’ll do a very good job for us and contribute significantly to the program

    “He is a quality guy, uncomplicated in his approach to the game and having been involved in professional sport for over 20 years will bring a no nonsense approach.”

    You have brought in Willie Ripia from the Hurricanes to the Force, what did you identify in him to improve the Force in 2011?

    Any side that has won a Super Rugby title has had a good number 10. Just look at the likes of Andrew Mehrtens, Dan Carter and Stephen Larkham. Willie is an important figure for our side going forward and the direction he’ll give us will be a central part in our ability to win.

    The Force’s cruelled by the loss of your back row stars David Pocock and Richard Brown, but of this pain we have seen Ben MacCalman and Matt Hodgson step up in the back row, it must be a great headache to have to all this talent to choose from?

    I don’t think you can ever have too many quality footballers to choose from and unfortunately you will suffer injury from time to time. In our case we are fortunate to have four Wallaby backrowers, David and Richard are well established while Ben McCalman took his opportunity during the Super 14 season and been rewarded through those performances with an international cap.  Matt Hodgson was huge for us in 2010, he continued his good form from the year before to win the Player of the Year award for the second successive season and has also now claimed a much deserved Wallabies Cap. We have a few new players in that area as well with Jono Jenkins and Tevita Metuisela having both performed very well in the Sydney competition.  They’ll add depth to an area that is combatitive.

    Nathan Charles was an inspired player for the Force , since was a Academy player for the Brumbies at the start of last season, as well as Rookie Ben Whittaker . How did you see both of their seasons and will we see Pek Cowan be the back up hooker for the Force or look to the return of Ryan Tyrrell ?

    Nathan Charles and Ben Whittaker performed very well from the middle of the season last year and it’ll be a very competitive position so we are very happy with the depth we have there. We’ve also got Siliva Siliva the Australian Under 20 Hooker on board as a rookie. Ryan is contracted until the end of 2010 and we’ll see how pre-season fares for him.

    The return to the Force of James Stannard must be timely, in the light of the loss of Chris O Young and Justin Turner in the Halves?

    James is a quality young man who is certainly well know to the players and fans. His performances for the Australian Sevens have been outstanding and he’s also a past winner of the PG Hampshire Award (WA Premier Grade best player award) so he’s an outstanding addition to the squad. It was extremely disappointing for Justin to be injured in the IRB Junior World Cup given his emergence in the last seven Super Rugby games of the 2010 season. He is working hard in the gym at the moment and we expect to see him back at the start of the season.

    You speak of Justin Turner as one of the rare sandgropers in the squad, after 5 years in Super Rugby , why has been only a handful of WA Born players in the Force squad?

    In a very short history we’ve already seen Justin Turner, Kieran Longbottom, Ryan Tyrrell and Cruze Ah-Nau graduate through to the Super Rugby ranks.  It’s not an easy step up and I think we can be happy with what we’ve seen so far, there is no doubt the number of WA players will continue to grow.  You only have to look at the strength of WA junior rugby over the last couple of years where we’ve competed really well in the Division 1 and 2 Schoolboys competition. This year we had Gary Neugebauer in the Australian Schoolboys team, Ollie Hoskins in the Australia A team and Zac Holmes in Australian Sevens. There’s plenty of talent in WA’s pool coming through the ranks.

    As a coach, you see a lot of the Force players move onto Sydney Club to finish their season and has this stunted the growth of WA Born players moving into the Force and as a coach will you encourage all of the Force’s contracted players to play in the Perth Club competition?

    We are a Western Australian club and we will be working very hard to develop stronger links with the Perth Rugby Community. Scott Staniforth, Mark Bartholomeusz, Richard Brown, Tom Hockings and Chris O’Young all played for their local Perth clubs this year. We are developing a stronger link with the community and we will be encouraging players to play in the Perth competition but understand that we’ll need to treat each case individually.

    There is no doubt the Western Force fans are the best in Super Rugby for commitment and loyalty, what sort of style of Rugby can we except from the Force in 2011?

    Former Wallaby and now Fox Sports Commentator Rod Kafer said during a broadcast last season that our home ground was the best in Australia in terms of atmosphere and that all stems from our members and supporters.  Running out with that ‘Sea of Blue’ behind you is powerful and they back us all the way.  Next season we’ll be playing an attacking style of rugby and are looking forward to having more rugby in Perth than ever before with eight home matches.

    Who are the teams that will be the biggest threat to the Force in winning the Super Rugby title and winning the Australian Conference?

    The consistently strong performers in the Bulls and the Crusaders are always going to be tough and the Stormers on the back of their excellent Super Rugby and Currie Cup performances. With the new Super Rugby format the Australian teams will certainly be some of our greatest competition as we’ll play them all twice. We want to beat all Aussie teams to put us in good stead to take that top position in the Australian Conference to guarantee a finals position. 

    Finally, what are the differences between being an assistant coach and taken the reins and responsibilities of head coach?

    Ultimately you are the one responsible for the direction of the programme and creating an environment where players can realise their potential. WA is an incredibly proud sporting state and I will be working hard with the other staff to ensure we achieve what we are capable of.

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    Legend Contributor fulvio sammut's Avatar
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    This guy's fondness for Eddie Jones will put him offside with many here (not me).

    We'll see how genuine he is about Force players staying to play club rugby in WA as the season progresses. However it seems to me there is a bit of back tracking going on here from what RugbyWA were privately saying to the clubs a few short months ago when the acid was put on them.

    The more things change ...

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    Legend Contributor brokendown gunfighter's Avatar
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    good to see you are not mellowing Fulvio
    will be interesting to see who turns out in the local comp next season
    we have only about 8 Force players turning out for Neddies next season,only a couple behind Pally,I believe

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    Really good interview. Who was the journo?

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    Legend Contributor fulvio sammut's Avatar
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    C'mon the

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    Legend Contributor blueandblack's Avatar
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    and at Perth/Bays, ours is recovering from injury.

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    "12 Years a Supporter" starring the #SeaOfBlue

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Graham View Post

    Former Wallaby and now Fox Sports Commentator Rod Kafer said during a broadcast last season that our home ground was the best in Australia in terms of atmosphere and that all stems from our members and supporters.  Running out with that ‘Sea of Blue’ behind you is powerful and they back us all the way.  Next season we’ll be playing an attacking style of rugby and are looking forward to having more rugby in Perth than ever before with eight home matches.
    Whats not to love about that Sea of Blue.........

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    Quote Originally Posted by Exile View Post
    Whats not to love about that Sea of Blue.........
    Thank god its not at Subiaco anymore!

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    Anyone see the bit where he unloaded on the Sydney Clubs?

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    Quote Originally Posted by shasta View Post
    Anyone see the bit where he unloaded on the Sydney Clubs?
    Search me - I have the magazine and they don't say it.

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    Legend Contributor Exile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shasta View Post
    Anyone see the bit where he unloaded on the Sydney Clubs?
    Quote Originally Posted by beige View Post
    Search me - I have the magazine and they don't say it.
    Maybe TheMan should change his name to ChickenLittle

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