Hodgson issues passionate plea to keep Force alive

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Force skipper Matt Hodgson has issued a passionate plea to keep the Western Force alive in the wake of the SANZAAR decision to cut an Australian Super Rugby team.

Speaking after his team's thrilling 46-41 win against the similarly vulnerable Kings, Hodgson spoke from the heart when asked for his thoughts on the decision to reduce the 18-team competition to 15.

"My life is here," Hodgson said.

"It (the Force) gave me my opportunity - I probably wouldn't have played Super Rugby if the Force didn't turn up.

"I'm lucky enough to have 130-odd caps here and that's allowed me to set up my life here.A young Hodgson headed west for his big break. Photo: Getty Images"But more important than that, I go back to when I first came here and I was doing rugby clinics with young kids.

"Now, I'm playing alongside them - they don't have that opportunity if we're gone.

"We call rugby the global game and if we can't even get it throughout all of Australia, that's frustrating."

While the Force are yet to be confirmed as the Australian team that will not compete in 2018, Hodgson said the decision to cut any Australian team was a bad move for a code that is striving to grow at the grassroots level.

"Being a parent myself, I don't even know where to put my kid," he said.Hodgson did not hold back tonight. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"Do I put him into rugby or do I put him to stay here in Western Australia and play AFL?

"And the way it has been done is the most annoying thing.

"For kids to turn up here now is great but now they don't know whether the Western Force are going to be in their future."

Hodgson's coach Dave Wessels also condemned the SANZAAR decision to cut an Australian Super Rugby team, labelling the call a "sad day for Australian rugby".Dave Wessels spoke solemnly about the SANZAAR decision. Photo: Getty Images"It's sad for Australian rugby that we have lost a team," he said.

"Whichever one of us goes now, I am never going to celebrate that decision, whether it's us or not, I just think it's a sad day."

On a positive note, the Force looked shot with 15 minutes to play against the Kings but stormed home to secure a stirring win.

"We are going to celebrate this win with our fans because that's the most important thing at the moment," Hodgson said.

"We are going to live each day like it is our last."