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Force bolster 2021 coaching staff

The Western Force has finalised its coaching team for 2021 with former Fiji national team head coach John McKee joining the club as an assistant coach.

With extensive experience in club and international rugby, including two World Cup campaigns for Fiji, the Force are pleased to add a coach of McKee’s calibre to their ranks.

McKee has enjoyed notable club roles in France with Top 14 side AS Montferrand from 2000-02, Irish PRO14 outfit Connacht in 2002-05 and Central Coast Rays where he led the side to their inaugural NRC title in 2007.

McKee transitioned into the international arena in 2008 with an assistant coaching role with the Pacific Islanders, then Tonga as a technical advisor from 2010-12, before moving to Australia as the under 20’s assistant coach.

He was then named the head coach for Fiji in 2014 where he led the side until 2019, which included the 2015 and 2019 World Cup, as well as four consecutive triumphs in the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup between 2015-19.

Moving back to club rugby is an exciting prospect for McKee, who is delighted to be joining the Force.

“It was fantastic to see the Force in Super Rugby AU this year. The style of rugby they played throughout the competition showed how much potential there is within the group,” McKee said.

“Tim Sampson’s done a fantastic job here developing the team over the past few years and has created a strong club culture with a balanced mix of national and international experience, as well as some great young talent coming through the ranks.

“The aspect of coaching that gives me the most joy is seeing young players develop. You win games and championships, which are great moments, but when I look back on my career within Australia and overseas, I always place emphasis on assisting the younger players develop and help them on their pathway to reach their potential, which I look forward to doing here at the Force.”

 Head coach Tim Sampson is excited to have McKee as part of his coaching staff.

“John is a highly qualified coach that brings a wealth of experience to the club,” Sampson explained.

“He has coached at the highest level on the biggest stage of international test rugby and European club rugby, so we’re really pleased to welcome him to the Force.”

The club would also like to thank departing coach Van Humphries for his dedication and loyalty to the Force.

“Van is a high-quality person and I really enjoyed working alongside him over the past three seasons,” Sampson said.

“He has sacrificed a lot whilst here at the Force and we sincerely wish him all the best for what lies ahead.”

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