The former coach of the Australian cricket team, Mickey Arthur, is in talks to join Perth-based Super Rugby franchise the Western Force.
- August 28, 2013
Arthur is understood to have spent the past couple of months in discussions with Force chief executive Mark Sinderberry about stepping into a role centred around talent development and recruitment at the club. Fairfax Media has been told a deal could be reached as early as next week, when Sinderberry returns from annual leave.
Arthur, 45, has extensive rugby connections to his native South Africa and helped the Force lure five-eighth Sias Ebersohn from the Cheetahs last year. He could also play a key role in any academy squad the Force starts as part of the proposed Australian Super Rugby development competition, which was put to the board of the Australian Rugby Union on Tuesday.
Arthur returned to Perth after his sensational sacking as the coach of the Australian cricket team two weeks before the start of the Ashes series in England in June. He is director of cricket at Anglican boys school Christ Church Grammar but, having lived in Perth for three years, developed a good relationship with Force head coach Michael Foley since the latter’s move there a year ago. ”I’m very passionate about rugby union,” Arthur said in January. ”I’ve jumped on the Western Force and talk a lot to Michael Foley, and I’m trying to help the Force with a little bit of recruitment from South Africa.”
The Force are increasingly looking to South Africa as a source of affordable talent that reduces their exposure to the high-priced bidding wars in the Australian market.
At the start of this month they announced former Stormers centre Marcel Brache and prop Chris Heiberg would play for them next year, joining Ebersohn and Bulls second-rower Wilhelm Steenkamp.
The ARU has given the Force and the Melbourne Rebels considerable room to move with recruitment. While the Reds, Waratahs and Brumbies are limited to two foreign signings on their rosters, the Force, for example, are now allowed six foreign development players and two marquees.
”With four provinces fighting over the same players on the east coast, we’ll continue to think outside the square with regard to our recruitment,” Sinderberry said.
Arthur’s addition to the payroll could give the club significant access to the South African market, not to mention the benefit of his coaching experience.
Arthur took the South African cricket team to the top of the international rankings during his five-year stint as head coach, before moving to Australia.
He coached the West Australian team for a year before taking on the top national job as the first foreigner to coach the Australian cricket team.
Following his sacking in June, with two years left to run on his contract, Arthur lodged a case for unfair dismissal with Fair Work Australia. He reached a settlement with Cricket Australia reported to be worth an estimated $600,000, or equivalent to one year’s salary plus bonuses.
Code-breakers: Coaches who have crossed divides
Having enjoyed huge success with the South African cricket team, reviving the fortunes of the Australian side proved beyond Arthur, below, who is now in talks with the Force over a switch to rugby.
Rugby World Cup winning-coach of England who moved into football, spending a tumultuous 12 months as performance director, then director of football, at Southampton.
The former rugby league coach for St George, Parramatta, the Roosters and Newcastle enjoyed a successful collaboration as defence consultant with the Brumbies, helping the team make the Super Rugby final this year.
Sheffield Shield-winning cricketer for Western Australia in the 1970s who also won Olympic silver with the Kookaburras during a 227-game hockey career. Went on to coach the Hockeyroos for seven years.
England and Wigan rugby league legend who moved to rugby as a coach and is now defence coach for Wales under Warren Gatland.
Former Eels and Origin player for NSW who coached Georgia at the 2011 Rugby World Cup then spent two seasons as defence coach at the Melbourne Rebels.