A little bit of tough love for Force and Wallabies lock Adam Coleman has helped him make a step up in 2017, coach Dave Wessels says.
Coleman will captain the Force for the first time on Friday night, against the Rebels, and Wessels said the pair’s relationship had been ‘confrontational’ this season, with the club’s expectations of the second rower incredibly high.
“Adam and I have had at different times had a bit of a confrontational relationship over the last couple of months,” he said.
“I think our ambition for ‘Adsy’ is that he's got to be the best lock in the world and I think he wants to be as well.
“We push each other pretty hard around that and I think to his credit he's really risen to those things and we've seen a dramatic shift in him probably over the last three months and I think that was no more evident than in his performances in the Test series and he's growing a lot as a player but he's also growing a lot as a person.
“I think he's one of those guys who's just a natural leaders so I'm excited to see him lead tomorrow and I think he's excited as well.”
Wessels said he had been strict on the little things for Coleman, who had battled with back-to-back injuries before the Wallabies June Series.
“We push each other around standards - What (does) being best in the world look like?,” he said.
“That's the same with any young guy, you're just pushing him to be better every day, (asking), ‘What's his diet like, what's his rehab like, is he doing his stretching every morning?’, all those things.
“I probably sat on him particularly hard because I realise how special he can be.”
Wessels has taken the cautious route with captain Ben McCalman, for whom another injury to his scapula could have spelled the end of his career.
McCalman has played just one game this season, with a thumb injury hindering his start and a recurrence of that shoulder blade break halting the back half.
Wessels said the backrower was in near full training but he won’t play another Super Rugby match this season, on medical advice.
“I think that's why (we’re concerned) - if it happens again his career might be on edge a bit,” he said.
“Again we've had really the best specialists look at this and the suggestion is to give them another five or six weeks and then we'll all be absolutely sure - there'll be a consensus that he's absolutely perfect.
“I just think that's the smart thing to do.”
The Force take on the Rebels on Friday night, kicking off at 7:45pm AEST LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO.