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Former Wallaby and ex-AB to coach new Qld national teams

Article Published: Friday 23 February 2007
Edited by: Sports Digital Media
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Former Wallaby and Australia U19 coach Chris Roche and former All Black and World Cup coach John Boe will be the head coaches for the two Queensland teams in this year's Australian Rugby Championship (ARC).

Roche will guide the Ballymore Tornadoes and Boe will take charge of the East Coast Aces.

Roche is currently Coaching Director of Norths QUT, one of the feeder clubs to the Ballymore Tornadoes, while Boe is Head Coach of the Gold Coast Breakers, a feeder club to the East Coast Aces.

QRU Chief Executive Ken Freer said the two were chosen after a thorough selection process overseen by QR Queensland Reds Head Coach Eddie Jones and were both highly credentialed, standout candidates.

"An objective of the ARC is to seek out coaches as well as players who might figure in our future plans at the Reds and both Chris and John are standouts in that regard. They'll do a fantastic job for their respective teams and we're delighted to have them in the representative structure," Mr Freer said.

Roche played 17 Tests for the Wallabies and 49 matches for the Reds as a flanker during the early 1980s. He turned to coaching in the 1990s and was Australian U19 Head Coach from 1994-96 and Queensland U21 Head Coach 1997-98.

Boe was an All Black to France as a flyhalf in 1981 before moving to Italy as player/coach. He has been assistant coach of the Waikato Chiefs and the Highlanders in Super 12 and led Manu Samoa in the 2003 Rugby World Cup when they threatened to upset eventual winners England in the pool rounds. He has lived on the Gold Coast for the past two years.

The Australian Rugby Championship will feature non-Wallaby players from the four Australian Super 14 franchises and the best club-level players in the country.

After being confirmed in the job yesterday, Roche said he had already begun planning his campaign for the Tornadoes in the new eight team competition which starts in August.

"We need to identify as soon as possible those players who we believe have a realistic chance of making the squad and, if they're not already on (advanced) programs, to get them onto those programs immediately.

"It's an honour for me to have been offered this job and we'll be looking for players who will view selection in those terms as well. We want a team based on pride."

Both coaches will now move to choose their support teams, with Boe saying he will depend heavily on input from selectors in the Aces' feeder clubs and the Country Heelers to help him choose an extended group from which the final 28 will be chosen later in the year.

"I already have an idea of what players will be available from the Queensland side of it, but I'll be relying heavily on the selectors' points of view about non-contracted players," he said.

The Tornadoes will play their home games at Ballymore, drawing on players aligned with clubs from the north side of the Brisbane River (Sunshine Coast Stingrays, Norths-QUT, Brothers, GPS, University, Wests).

The East Coast Aces, who are aligned with clubs on the south side (Easts, Souths. Sunnybank, Gold Coast Breakers) and with the Queensland Country Heelers, will play their home games on the Gold Coast.

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