Graham sacked as Reds coach


Queensland Reds coach Richard Graham has been sacked after his team's poor start to the Super Rugby season.

Graham, who joined the Reds in 2013, is replaced by co-interim head coaches Matt O'Connor and Nick Stiles.

The struggling Reds lost their opening game of the season 30-10 to the Waratahs before going down 22-6 to the Western Force on Saturday.

Despite his team's struggles, Graham was given a one-year deal for this season in what was a controversial decision.

"I'm naturally disappointed. I loved my role with the Reds and enjoyed my time with the QRU [Queensland Rugby Union]," Graham said in a statement on Monday.

"I am in a high-performance environment and the results haven't been to a satisfactory standard. I have to accept that and move on.

"I wish everybody the best and want to formally thank the competent and dedicated support staff I have worked with over the last three years for their tireless efforts.

"I really hope the team and Reds coaching staff have success going forward."

Stiles has been the Reds' forwards coach since 2014, while O'Connor joined the team as attack coach ahead of this season.

The QRU said it would commence a "worldwide process" to appoint a coach for the 2017 season.

"I'd like to thank Richard for his contribution over the past number of years," QRU chairman Damien Frawley said.

"Richard is a proud Queenslander who has spent his life in rugby and while he hasn't achieved the success we all would have wished for during his time as head coach, he leaves with our gratitude for his service to the game.

"QRU conducted a high-performance review in the middle of last year and as a result implemented significant change across our rugby department.

"At that time the board made the decision to reappoint Richard as head coach for a year, but we always said there would be periods within the 2016 Super Rugby season where we would take stock of how the team was performing.

"We believe, through our high-performance review process, we have implemented the necessary changes to support both interim head coaches during the 2016 season and whoever takes on the head coach role in 2017."