Simon Cron will replace Tim Sampson as Western Force coach at the end of the Super Rugby Pacific season, lured from Japan by Andrew Forrest.

Simon Cron has finally landed at a Super Rugby club with the Japan-based coach to take the reins at Western Force. Cron has signed a two-year deal with the Perth outfit, replacing Tim Sampson at the end of this season.

“Simon is one of world rugby’s most talented young coaches whose philosophy is to make better rugby players, both on and off the field,” said Western Force owner Andrew Forrest via a press statement.

“It is his dedication to values, player wellbeing and growth, and his respected coaching ability that we are looking forward to at the Force.

“Simon’s leadership and technical knowledge of the game will be welcomed by the player and coaching team at the Force as it builds to be a true powerhouse in world rugby.

“A huge thanks to Tim Sampson for his great and tireless role in bringing the Force back into Super Rugby. He has been a true champion of the club. Nicola and I wish him all the best in the next chapter of his rugby coaching career.”

Cron is currently in charge of Toyota Verblitz in Japan’s Rugby League One competition, where they are in the fifth position in the 12-team tournament after ten rounds.

New Zealander Cron, the nephew of former All Blacks scrum coach Mike Cron, was previously involved at the Waratahs, where he served as an assistant coach and coached Australia‘s U20 side.

“Andrew Forrest took time out of his extremely busy schedule to talk with me around his family’s love of the Western Force and how it is a key part of the Western Australian sporting community,” he said.

It is a significant win for Australian rugby. Cron coached Toyota to the third spot in last year’s League One season and worked with All Blacks Kieran Read and Patrick Tuipulotu, Wallabies Michael Hooper and Jed Holloway and Springbok Pieter-Steph du Toit.
With a second-year option in his contract, timings could have dovetailed nicely for Cron to head to New Zealand, the country of his birth, for potential coaching opportunities after next year’s World Cup.

But the former Australia U20s coach decided to forego the second year after Covid-19 disrupted seasons at Toyota and extended separation from his family took their toll.

When Force boss Tony Lewis came knocking with Sampson’s contract up at the end of the season, Cron said he was intrigued by the challenge of building on Sampson’s work and taking the Force to greater heights.