Super Rugby

Graham switches to Reds

Graham switches to Reds

THE FORCE are searching for a new coach after Richard Graham revealed he is jumping ship to the Reds, and Ewen McKenzie could be coaching the Wallabies in 2014.

That was what could be garnered by yesterday’s unexpected announcement in which Graham confirmed that he will leave the Perth-based franchise two years ahead of schedule to link up with McKenzie at the Reds.

Graham will coach the defending Super Rugby champions next year, with McKenzie to move into a director of coaching role.

McKenzie will spend one year in that position before making the transition to Queensland Rugby's inaugural director of rugby position in 2014 and beyond.

However, he could be in strong demand at the Australian Rugby Union by then given that Robbie Deans’ Wallabies contract finishes at the end of next season.

It is believed Deans will need to win the 2013 test series against the British Lions and either the Bledisloe Cup or Four Nations Championship to keep his job after the Wallabies failed to make the Rugby World Cup final.

ARU chief executive John O’Neill has admitted previously that McKenzie is likely to be the next Wallabies. It is unlikely the Reds will stand in his way should McKenzie be appointed to the top job in Australia.

Graham’s decision to return home means the Force are hunting for a new coach for the 2013 season.

Force chief executive Vern Reid says there had been strong interest from numerous capable coaches, but it was their preference to find an outstanding Australian coach either currently working overseas or in Australia.

A shortlist of internationally recognised and experienced coaches had already been spoken to.

While Graham will remain head coach until at least the end of July, he will no longer be involved in recruiting Force players.

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