Friday, January 13, 2017 10:37AM
It has taken a while, but the Western Force are no longer in a rebuilding period.
And there will be no more hiding behind excuses, according to the new forwards coach, the straight-talking Joe Barakat.
“Our backs are against the wall. We don’t have time for rebuilding years. It’s about winning games,” Barakat said.
“When you talk about rebuilding periods you can afford to lose and at this stage we can’t afford to lose.”
Barakat, who has joined the Force’s new coaching line-up from Irish heavyweights Ulster, is known for his no-nonsense approach.
“That’s probably me. I was a teacher for 19 years and I think a lot of that stems from the classroom,” he said.
“But you’re working with adults so the no-nonsense isn’t aggressive no-nonsense. It’s ‘know your job’.
“Don’t come here without knowing your job. Less discussion. Let’s just do the job.
“I’ve got a bit of grey hair, but there’s not a lot of grey matter in my thinking. There’s probably a lot of black and white.
“It’s about rules. We’ve got to be quite succinct with what we have to deliver this year.
“If there were some grey areas that we could work with, maybe I could walk a little bit before I’m running, but everybody has got to start running.
“Our focus is preparing our rugby players, making them good rugby players and giving them the habit of winning.
“When you win and continue to win sometimes that develops a pretty good habit and it’s pretty hard to lose. That’s where we want to get them to.”
Barakat said the depth in the squad was satisfactory despite a large turnover of players.
“It’s an exciting squad,” he said.
“The level and quality, the depth of players is fantastic ... great young players who are really exciting. They work hard. They have been exceptional.
“Sometimes there are down and lean periods, but every-body’s got to recover.
“We’re trying to cut down those lean periods.”
Barakat said there would be plenty of competition among his forwards and he was not concerned about a lack of experience at tighthead prop, where Tetera Faulkner is the only seasoned specialist.
Of the two other tightheads, 21-year-old Jermaine Ainsley has just nine Super Rugby appearances and Shambeckler Vui is only 19 and yet to play.