Sampson appointed Force coach

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Canberra Vikings coach Tim Sampson is heading west, signing with the Western Force for two years.

The Force, who are in the process of setting up exhibition games for 2018 as well as Andrew Forrest's IPRC, which is still waiting for Rugby Australia endorsement.

Sampson took the Vikings to the NRC final in 2017, after a successful run with Canberra club side Tuggeranong as well.

He will take the Force reins in the NRC as well as in a series of planned exhibition games in the lead up to the domestic competition in 2018.

The Vikings set a new club benchmark on Friday night. Photo: Michael Daniel PhotographyThe Force confirmed the appointment on Friday and Sampson said he was looking forward to a new challenge.

“I am looking forward to working alongside people who are genuinely passionate about rugby, and just as importantly meeting the extremely loyal supporters of the Western Force,” Sampson said.

“I believe those new to the club, including myself, must not underestimate the positive impact that the past players and staff have had on rugby in the West.

“I am extremely motivated to continue to build on what has already been established and I am looking forward to contributing to a successful and exciting period in Western Australian rugby.”

Rugby AU high performance manager, Ben Whitaker, said Sampson had a bright coaching future.

"Tim is a quality young coach who has followed a classic developmental path through the Australian coaching system starting with Sunnybank and Easts in Brisbane before joining the Tuggeranong Vikings and Canberra Vikings NRC program," he said.

“He had a tremendous season with the Canberra Vikings as Head Coach last year, taking them all the way to the NRC Grand Final and then came on as an assistant in the Australian U20s program in December.

“We are delighted for Tim to have the opportunity to lead the Western Force and we look forward to continuing our involvement with him as he builds for 2018 and the NRC.

"Tim will do an outstanding job in WA and will continue to be an important part of the Australian rugby coaching set-up.”

The Force have a number of WA-based players signed to the franchise already, including flyhalf Peter Grant, hooker Heath Tessmann and outside back Marcel Brache.