Force ramp up survival campaign ahead of Kings clash

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Force coach Dave Wessels and famous Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich may not share too many similarities but they now have one thing in common - ownership stakes in their favourite sports team.

Wessels has bought shares in the Force as part of the Own the Force campaign, which was launched today in Perth as part of the club's fight for Super Rugby survival.

The playing squad has also bought in, all buying shares in a show of support for the club's future.

Stakes can be purchased for $1000 and the club needs 5000 shares to be sold over the next four months if the model is to be given the green light.

"I've got my shares and I'm part owner of a sports team now so Roman Abramovich and I have something in common," Wessels said cheekily.Dave Wessels and his players are behind the Own the Force campaign. Photo: Getty Images"But it's such a good opportunity - it's just another example of how the community is standing behind the team.

"In a strange way - it has been a bit of a difficult time for the team over the past couple of weeks - but the way it has galvanised the community behind the team and how strongly the team feels in some way has been a positive consequence for us."

In all likelihood, the organisation's future rests in the hands of the South African Rugby Union.

Should they proceed in cutting two teams, it has been reported that Perth will be without a team in 2018 and this campaign is a push to cloud that decision.

As the wait for further news stretches on, Wessels said the team needs to focus on securing its second win of 2017 when the lowly Kings arrive at nib Stadium on Sunday."The players recognise that their contribution to the debate is their performances on the field," he said.

"So we have got to get that into line and to be brutally honest, we wouldn't be having this conversation in the first place if our performances had been up to scratch over the last couple of years.Michael Ruru will make his first start for the Force. Photo: Getty ImagesIn team news, Ben McCalman will make his return to Super Rugby off the bench, having recovered from a thumb injury.

The only change to the starting XV is a forced one, Michael Ruru making his first start in Force colours in place of the injured Ryan Louwrens.

Luke Morahan is still not in the 23-man squad but it is not for form reasons as it was last week, with the winger attending his sister's wedding.

Wessels said Curtis Rona will have to earn the starting outside centre gig as he has been named on the bench.

The cross-code centre missed the Blues clash with concussion.


Force team to take on the Kings

1. Ben Daley

2. Tatafu Polota-Nau

3. Tetera Faulkner

4. Matt Philip

5. Richie Arnold

6. Ross Haylett-Petty

7. Matt Hodgson (C)

8. Isi Naisarani

9. Michael Ruru

10. Jono Lance

11. Alex Newsome

12. Billy Meakes

13. Marcel Brache

14. Chance Peni

15. Dane Haylett-Petty


16. Heath Tessmann

17. Pek Cowan

18. Shambeckler Vui

19. Richard Hardwick

20. Ben McCalman

21. Ian Prior

22. Luke Burton

23. Curtis Rona

The Force take on the Kings on Sunday afternoon at nib Stadium, kicking off at 4:05pm AEST, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS and