The Road Safety Perth Spirit has appointed Kevin Foote as Head Coach for the 2017 National Rugby Championship, with Force Attack Coach, Shaun Berne, and Forwards Coach, Joe Barakat, named as Assistant Coaches.
Foote, the current Road Safety Western Force Skills Coach has been involved in the Spirit coaching ranks over the last three NRC campaigns, including guiding the men in black and gold to the grand final in 2014 as Joint Head Coach.
The 38-year-old South-African is excited to take on the role individually, seeing the Spirit’s NRC season as an important building block for towards the 2018 Super Rugby season for the Road Safety Western Force.
“It’s an exciting opportunity for me but also for the club going forward,” Foote said.
“I enjoy the competition, it’s awesome. We are going to play a lot of our professional guys with some club players as well.”
Foote is clear in his expectations for the upcoming season.
“We want to win without a doubt. We will use the competition to build towards Super Rugby in 2018 and use it as an opportunity, but we want to win it all.”
Foote sees the NRC as an opportunity to further the understanding between coaches and players, with a focus on combinations both on and off the field.
“From a coaching perspective, Joe (Barakat) and Shaun (Berne) working together again is a positive, with both working in the Super Rugby program and continuing through to NRC.”
“We want to grow, we have done reviews as coaches and everyone wants to get better in their department.”
“The player combinations are also important, the more everyone plays together the better the rugby we will play.”
The competition also gives Pindan Premier Grade players the chance to set up on the national stage, with the Spirit looking to bring in several strong performers from the local clubs.
“I was lucky enough to take a few club guys away to Mauritius for the World Club 10s, so I got to see a lot of their potential there,” he says.
“I have kept a pretty close eye on them and spoken to coaches, once their finals are done we will pull some guys in and give them an opportunity.”
The Future Force Foundation will also have a strong participation in the Spirit squad, with a number of promising youngsters looking to take the step up into the nation wide competition.
“The Future Force boys will all have a crack. Guys like Sama Malolo and Clay Uyen are going pretty well and both did well playing for the Australian U20’s this year, we will look across the whole squad.”
“A lot of Western Force contracted players will play, but everyone will fight for their positions and that will drive the standard of training and games even higher.”
The Road Safety Western Force showed plenty of attacking flair throughout the season, with the Spirit’s game plan no different going into their upcoming campaign.
“It’s great that we have Shaun Berne as the Attack Coach, so there is clear continuity between Super Rugby and NRC. We will let the ball get some air time in the NRC like last year, we definitely want to score a lot of tries.”