Force head to Europe for answers

Mon, 08 Oct 2012 09:25
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The Western Force have recruited former Bath head coach Steve Meehan to their coaching staff for next year's Super Rugby season.

The Western Force have recruited former Bath head coach Steve Meehan to their coaching staff for next year's Super Rugby season.

Australian-born Meehan, who won the 2008 European Challenge Cup with Bath, will work as a backs/attack coach under new head coach Michael Foley, Force said.

"With our focus on attacking and dynamic rugby, we're fortunate to bring in someone with the experience and expertise of Steve Meehan," Foley said.

"His record at Stade Francais and Bath speaks for itself; he was able to implement a game style that players loved playing, that fans loved watching and that ultimately brought success. We have a similar goal for the side in 2013."

Meehan spent five seasons in charge of Bath after a three-year stint as assistant coach at Stade Francais, who reached the Final of the French Championship for three consecutive seasons from 2003 and finished runners-up to Toulouse in the 2005 Heineken Cup final.

Foley also announced that former Queensland Reds strategist Phillip Fowler and former NSW Waratahs general manager Chris Webb were joining Force.

The pair joins Foley and forwards coach Nick Stiles as the brains trust for the Western Australian franchise.

The Perth-based Force managed just three wins this year, and have lost leading Wallabies James O'Connor and David Pocock to rival Australian Super Rugby franchises.

"Relaunching this side is more than just a new playing roster, it's about a new approach to Western Force rugby," Foley said.

"We didn't want to restrict ourselves in terms of who we were approaching and targeting, and have intentionally identified experts with a proven record in getting results.

"We've engaged some of the best in the business to join us for 2013. We've drawn a line in the sand for this season and, given we'll run out a new-look side, it was essential that we assembled a coaching staff that would not only provide insight into the game but will assist to develop our players and the group as a whole.

"We said that we were going to recruit the best attack coach available and that's exactly what we've done. With our focus on attacking and dynamic rugby, we're fortunate to bring in someone with the experience and expertise of Steve [Meehan]. His record at Stade Français and Bath speaks for itself; he was able to implement a game style that players loved playing, that fans loved watching and that ultimately brought success. We have a similar goal for the side in 2013.

"Chook [Fowler] was one of the masterminds behind the Reds success over the past few years as well as being sought out by the Wallabies, All Blacks and Springboks across four World Cups. He brings a great deal to the table not only through his strategic approach to rugby, but also being able to guide the players through the psychological aspects of the game as well.

"Finally, there aren't too many managers in rugby with the experience and knowledge that Chris has. Chris will play a vital role in providing a holistic and integrated approach to our rugby program that encompasses the entire RugbyWA organisation and WA rugby community. He's one of the best in the game and it's reassuring to know that every aspect of the High Performance Department will operate like clockwork under him, allowing us to focus on creating the change necessary to bring success.

"There's no doubt that we're all on the same page in not only wanting to implement change to build a winning culture for the Western Force but ensuring that we put systems and a culture in place that can sustain the long-term success of the side."

RugbyWA Chairman Russel Perry says this is part of a ‘wall of change' for the Western Force.

"This is a time of significant change for the club," he said. "We know our final standing over the past few seasons has been unacceptable and significant actions were required to see us become a force in this competition.

"In investing in this new coaching and management staff, we are looking towards the development, improvement and extended success of the Western Force.

"Michael has a clear plan for the development of this side over the next three years. The appointment of a first-rate coaching group, combined with a new playing roster for 2013, is part of a continuous improvement approach across the board for the club. This is a significant component of creating an exciting new era for the Western Force.

"We will be announcing further changes over the next several weeks that will give our members and supporters confidence about the future."

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