The Western Force have strengthened their coaching team with the appointment of Shaun Berne as the club’s attack coach for the 2017 and 2018 Super Rugby seasons.
Berne joins the club with more than 200 professional playing caps including stints with the Waratahs, Bath, Calvisano, Leinster and was most recently involved in elite player development at the Irish province.
The signing of Berne is another key step for the Force after coach Dave Wessels recently announced that Joe Barakat (Forwards) and veteran coach Alan Gaffney (Attack Specialist) would also be part of his coaching team for the 2017 Super Rugby season.
Berne – the 37-year-old Australian – says he can’t wait to get to Perth and be involved in such an experienced coaching panel.
"Firstly, I’d like to thank Leinster and the IRFU for the opportunities they gave me, having transitioned out of my playing days and into coaching, they have been really good to me," he told the Western Force's official website.
"I’m looking forward to working alongside the rest of the coaches, and being able to bounce ideas off those guys."
Berne says the move to Super Rugby was something he has always wanted to do.
"You can’t help but be attracted to the style of rugby that’s played in Super Rugby,” he added.
"Over here in Europe it often gets bogged down in nasty weather, but the weather in Super Rugby doesn’t have that kind of impact, which allows for that great style of rugby."
Western Force head coach Dave Wessels says Berne will be a valuable inclusion in the coaching structure.
"Two things stand out about Shaun from the interview process; the first is that he has a fantastic rugby brain. I’ve been told that when he played alongside the likes of Brian O’Driscoll he was driving a lot of the ideas around Leinster’s attack and that came across clearly in all of his presentations," he said.
"The second is that he’s a person of character who has a deep love for Australian rugby.
"We’re excited about the management team we are putting together and would like to thank Leinster for the way they have handled this matter."