Haylett-Petty hopes to see Force players in trial mix

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Western Force players will be in the mix to feature in Friday night’s Wallabies trial match and Test back Dane Haylett-Petty hopes to see them in the Test frame down the track.

Perth-raised Haylett-Petty played all of his Super Rugby at the Force until last season when the club was cut from the competition.

The Force as a team still survives through World Series Rugby, the brainchild of WA billionaire Andrew Forrest, playing Super Rugby sides and teams from around the globe.

Western Force World Series players were given the tick for Wallabies eligibility earlier this year but so far none has been thrown into the international frame.

They could get a chance to impress in Friday night’s Bledisloe Cup trial at Leichhardt Oval, as part of the Wallabies' opposition in that match.

That team will be made up, mainly of Super Rugby players and club players not involved in finals rugby but some Force players have been considered for the squad.

Some high-profile players will be in that 'Super Rugby selection' including locks Matt Philip and Blake Enever but the final makeup of the team, coached by Aussie Women's Sevens mentor John Manenti, will be named on Tuesday morning.

Haylett-Petty will be watching on at Leichhardt Oval on Friday night, still on his way back from injury but is hoping to be back for the Bledisloe opener on August 18.

Wallaby Dane Haylett-Petty and former All Blacks hooker Keven Mealamu were in Perth to launch the 2019 Bledisloe Cup. Photo: Getty ImagesSpeaking at the launch of the 2019 Bledisloe Cup match to be held in Perth, Haylett-Petty said it was a move he backed fully.

“I think it's great that Cheik's (Wallabies coach Michael Cheika) bringing some guys over to play in this trial game and I really hope that some of the Force boys will be playing in the Wallabies in the near future,” he said

“The Force have done such a good job to create a pathway here in the west and I hope to see more West Australian grown Wallabies wearing that gold.”

Haylett-Petty has been a part of the opening Bledisloe Tests the past two years and said he could only see upside in the trial, giving players a chance to bank some critical match fitness before the Rugby Championship.

“I think it's very clever from Cheik,” he said.

“The last two Bledisloes we've had probably four weeks off between Super and the Bledisloe and been blown away in the first 20 minutes and probably not quite prepared enough.

“So, I think this is a great initiative to bridge that gap a little bit and last year the two games after that were really tight but the first 20 minutes in Sydney wasn't good enough.”

Haylett-Petty’s support for a warm up was echoed by Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson earlier on Monday.

“I think it's become vital now,” he said.

“The short preparation time, getting a new team together and giving it a hitout against an opposition. I think it's the right thing to do.

“Finding that opposition is a bit tough at the moment but I fully support it.”

Perth will host the 2019 Bledisloe Cup opener on August 10, 2019. Tickets on sale on October 26. Secure your tickets first - join the waitlist to hear about the exclusive 2019 Bledisloe Cup, Perth, presale!