Force pathway worth pursuing: Lance

International
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Force has produced three  Test debutants this season and playmaker Jono Lance says there’s plenty more where that came from.

Lance nearly became the franchise’s newest Wallabies debutant, following Dane Haylett-Petty and Adam Coleman’s maiden outings earlier this year, along with Luke Morahan’s first Test in four years.

Coleman and Haylett-Petty have both endorsed the club’s talent development, crediting the franchise for their path to the national team.

Were it not for the Force, Lance might not have been playing Super Rugby this year, with a 2015 NRC Player of the Year season for the NSW Country Eagles tempting the Perth team into handing the flyhalf another opportunity.

The franchise’s past and current players have been actively involved in a push to save the club from a possible Super Rugby axing, with the Force reaching out to fans to take up an ownership stake in the WA franchise.

Lance said much of the playing group had sacrificed in their decision to move their lives to Perth and it has been paying off in the culture of the team.

“It's a very big buy-in [from the players].” he said.

“A lot of people talk about how (the players) are all from the east coast, but a lot of the guys who are from the east coast or from South Africa or wherever have made a huge life decision to move to Perth, change their lifestyle and go about it a different way. - Jono Lance

“It's not only a rugby decision, it's a whole livelihood type decision for the Force to go well.

“Having that buy-in to the team, you see how passionate it is. I know the playing group is very strong and very passionate about getting the best out of themselves.

“At the moment four guys in the setup, but I know a lot of the younger guys coming through having seen them train and played with them in the NRC and Super Rugby - I think there'll be a lot more in the setup in future years.”

Lance has found his own niche in WA, able to lock down the primary playmaking spot after playing second fiddle to Test 10s Bernard Foley and Quade Cooper while the pair were steering the Waratahs and Reds, respectively, to Super Rugby championships.

An injury hampered his progress this year but Lance has a steely resolve but the Queenslander said his setbacks only made him appreciate his opportunities more.

“Obviously injuries are a part of the sport but when you're fit and playing, that's when it's exciting and meeting new people and travelling around like at the moment - that's the beauty of rugby,” he said.

“It is a world game, we get to do all this and travel and spend a lot of time with the guys.

“That's why I love playing rugby. It is an exciting time and I definitely cherish the moments more when you strive really hard to get into this position.”

Lance will be part of the Wallaby XV taking on the French Barbarians in Bordeaux this week, after being a late inclusion on the bench for the Wallabies against France.

The Wallaby XV takes on the French  Barbarians on Friday November 25, kicking off at 6:45am AEDT, streamed live on rugby.com.au.

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