Force back Mulvihill for Waratahs job - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Force back Mulvihill for Waratahs job

16/04/2008 05:18:36 PM Comments (0)

The Western Force have endorsed assistant coach John Mulvihill's bid to become the next coach of Super 14 rivals the NSW Waratahs.

But head coach John Mitchell and captain Nathan Sharpe both admit the possible departure of the Force's attack coach would be a major blow to the Perth franchise.

It has emerged that Mulvihill, who has been Mitchell's right-hand man in WA since the Force's inception nearly three years ago, is being strongly considered as Ewen McKenzie's successor in Sydney.

Following the Brumbies' appointment of Andy Friend as their coach on Tuesday, Mulvihill and former Wallabies five-eighth Brian Smith - now London Irish's coach - are considered favourites for the job, although Waratahs assistant Todd Louden remains a chance - if he formally applies.

Outgoing Brumbies coach Laurie Fisher all but ruled himself out contention on Wednesday.

Before leaving Perth for Queensland to take on the Reds on Friday night, Mitchell, Sharpe and RugbyWA chairman Geoff Stooke all gave Mulvihill their blessing, with the man himself happy to let others do the talking for now.

"As an inaugural member of the Force coaching staff, John has contributed immensely in the development of the side and we have no doubt would make a fine head coach," Stooke said.

"We would be sad to see him leave. However, we acknowledge that, like all guys in John's position, he has ambitions to get to the next level in his coaching career."

Originally from Queensland, Mulvihill played for NSW in 1990 before switching codes for a three-year career with Balmain in the Australian Rugby League.

The former Australian-under 21s representative began a rugby coaching career in Europe, heading up Irish outfit Navan, and completed a stint as youth development officer for the Irish Rugby Union.

Mulvihill joined the Force in 2006 and was head coach of the Perth Spirit in the Australian Rugby Championship last year.

Mitchell said he had mixed feelings about his lieutenant's possible promotion elsewhere.

"Mulvers has been a tremendous asset to our coaching staff and it would be a shame to lose him, but he wants to take the next step in his coaching career and you can't begrudge him that opportunity," Mitchell said.

Sharpe said Mulvihill had great coaching credentials.

"He is certainly one of those guys that reads players very well, dealing with players one on one," Sharpe said.

"And he has learned a lot in terms of game plan and structure from John Mitchell, and that is a good combination he has brought together.

"We wish him all the best in that application, and in the same breath we would like to him stay. He is a big part of this team."

While Mulvihill has zoomed into contention for the Waratahs role, Fisher said he was more likely to seek employment overseas.

"I think they (NSW) are well down their process there, so I don't think that's probably a viable option," Fisher said.

"I never close the door on anybody. If they wanted to show some interest ... but, realistically, it's probably unlikely at this stage."

Waratahs chief executive Jim L'Estrange is expected to begin interviews this week, either in person or via teleconference, with a NSWRU board meeting on May 12 the date of a possible appointment.

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