Sharpe plays down trouble in the Force


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Wallaby and Western Force captain Nathan Sharpe has denied reports of a player revolt against coach John Mitchell saying that the situation is a “storm in a tea cup”.

The Force have been in damage control mode since Sunday when a newspaper claimed that the players had complained to management about Mitchell.

Sharpe admitted that group of players met with Force chief executive Greg Harris, but denied it had anything to do with Mitchell’s coaching.

“There was a bunch of players and the CEO and the players’ representative on the board (John Welborn) who got together just to discuss things, ranging from the administration to the playing,” Sharpe told The Australian.

“It was certainly nothing to do with Mitch. It was just the performance of the team going forward was what the boys wanted to talk about.

“You can always get better in different areas as an organisation and that’s what we are looking to do. That goes from the way we hold ourselves as a club, the way we run our marketing, the way we do our public appearances.

“To be honest, it was very early stages of planning for next year and the guys just wanted to make sure we got on top of things.”

Sharpe was one of the Force’s first signings and said that he had no problem at all with his coach John Mitchell.

“I get along really well with Mitch,” Sharpe said.

“He’s a great guy and a very good coach. He’s an intense fella. That’s the way he is. He is competitive.

“That’s what you want in a coach. A guy who works very, very hard.”

There has been speculation that the Force could lose players such as Matt Giteau and winger/fullback Drew Mitchell who come off contract next year.

Sharpe however is going nowhere until 2011 but conceded it that it would be a challenge for the club to retain a large number of players, who are coming off contract.

“Next year is going to be a great litmus test for us to see how many guys want to re-sign and get on board with a team that is certainly on the improve,” Sharpe said.

“That was always going to be the case when the club came into conception.”

“You get players on one or two-year contracts and all of a sudden everyone is coming off contract at the same time.”

Sharpe is currently preparing for the Wallabies’ upcoming tour of Hong Kong and Europe.

The Wallabies play the All Blacks in Hong Kong and then four Tests against Italy, France, England and Wales before finishing the tour with a match with the Barbarians at Wembley stadium. “It’s a solid trip, but I think everyone is pretty excited about it,” Sharpe said.

“There’s 34 guys going, which is going to share the load between everyone.”

Sharpe said the Wallabies were keen to take on the All Blacks again after their 28-24 loss to New Zealand in the Tri-Nations decider in Brisbane three weeks ago.

“You always want another shot at an opposition that has just beaten you,” Sharpe said.

“The team will be chomping at the bit to get another crack at them, especially in an atmosphere like Hong Kong.”

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