Peni leaving nothing to chance

AAP
by AAP

The Western Force have continued their signing frenzy, but the future of the Melbourne Rebels appears increasingly bleak as the franchise's best players prepare to jump ship.

Winger Chance Peni became the latest star to re-sign with the Force on Wednesday, joining the likes of Wallabies newcomer Richard Hardwick and veteran prop Ben Daley as other players to have put pen to paper over the past week.

It's understood the Force have another six players who will re-sign soon, while stars such as Dane Haylett-Petty, Billy Meakes, Ben McCalman, Curtis Rona, and Pek Cowan already have existing contracts for next season.

In contrast, the Rebels are battling to keep the core of their squad together.
Jack Debreczeni Fullback Jack Debreczeni has signed with Japan's second tier team Honda Heat, while Mitch Inman will link up with French Top 14 side Oyonnax.

Wallabies prop Toby Smith will join the Hurricanes in order to be closer to his young son, while Wallaby Sean McMahon has reportedly signed a deal to play in Japan.

Rebels coach Tony McGahan will also depart the club at season's end.
The ARU will push ahead with plans to axe either the Rebels or Force.

The Force initially looked to be the most vulnerable of the two.
But it now appears the Rebels are the ones facing an uphill battle to survive, despite owner Andrew Cox previously stating he won't sell the licence back to the ARU.

Force coach Dave Wessels said he was confident that he could turn the team into title contenders by 2019 if the franchise survives the axe.

"There's two real goals. The one goal is to win Super Rugby. And the other goal is to create Wallabies," Wessels said.

"We want to create the best environment for players to develop their game and reach their potential."

Wessels has been floated as a possible replacement for McGahan if the Force were to be axed.

But the rookie coach isn't giving it any thought.

"Obviously it's very flattering," Wessels said.
Dave Wessels is confident Coleman will stay in Perth. Photo; RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"But I've got a job here I really like, and I've got a team that I really care about, and this is the job I want.

"And we're going to fight tooth and nail to try to keep rugby in WA."

Peni thrust himself into Wallabies calculations with a blistering start to the season, scoring three tries in six games.

But the winger's hopes of earning a call-up for the June Test window were dashed when he tore his groin in the round seven win over the Kings.

Peni, who has re-signed with the Force for another two years, is on track to return for the July 7 clash with the Rebels at nib Stadium.

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