Fergus still feeling the Force in Perth

NRC
by Max Hope

The Western Force suffered their first taste of defeat on the weekend in Canberra but lock Fergus Lee-Warner says the "hiccup" won't derail the momentum of the men from Perth.

After accounting for Brisbane City away from home in Round One and the NSW Country Eagles at home in Round Two, the Force went down to the 2017 grand finalists 29-19 in a gritty contest at Viking park.

They now turn their attention to defending premiers, Queensland Country, who are the only undefeated side in the competition after the first three rounds.

Following the inaugural season of World Series Rugby, the Force entered the NRC with high hopes - and expectations.

There is a long way to go in the NRC competition but Lee-Warner said the belief about achieving success in the squad is strong.

“We’ve been able to keep the momentum going from World Series Rugby into the start of the NRC,” Lee-Warner said.

“A slight hiccup last week against the Vikings was frustrating, but you debrief and move on as quickly as you can to the next job.

“There’s no doubt training and playing together with World Series has been invaluable. You just get the chance to pick up a few little things about your teammates’ playing styles that simply take time."

The playing style of second-row partner Jeremy Thrush, however, wasn’t too hard to dissect.

The former All Black has been a great mentor for the New South Welshman since he joined the Force in May.

“He keeps things pretty simple, not too much can get mixed up when you do that,” Lee-Warner said.

“It’s been great to play with someone of his experience. It's not often you get to pack down with someone who’s played for the best team in the world.

"His knowledge is awesome, and I’ve learned a lot from playing alongside him."

Moving to Perth from Sydney earlier this year with the hope of playing a game or two in World Series Rugby, Lee-Warner has enjoyed his time in the most isolated city in the world.

“It’s been a good move for me. I was loving my time with Eastern Suburbs and had played a few games of NRC last year, but when a professional opportunity came up I was never going to say no," he said.

“Former Beastie Matt Hodgson gave me a bell and said, “there’s a spot over here if you’re keen to give it a crack”, and I haven’t looked back.

“I’m from Aberdeen in Country New South Wales and we have blokes from South Africa, New Zealand, yet here we are playing in the blue of the Western Force.

“We are an absolute bunch of misfits and I think we have found comfort in that when we play together.”

The Force and Queensland Country do battle at Bond University on Saturday at 3pm.