Placid's rediscovered love of rugby sparks try-scoring form for Force

NRC
by Emma Greenwood

Jonah Placid has found his fit at the Western Force after rediscovering his love of rugby.

At just 24, Placid could already be called a journeyman of the game, having made the move from the Reds to the Rebels, then overseas to Toulon before returning to Australia to link with the Force for the NRC season.

A three-time U20 World Cup representative with the Junior Wallabies, Placid was an outstanding prospect who earnt his first Super Rugby cap for the Reds at just 18, before heading to the Rebels, where he played 18 matches over three seasons.

But after a two-year stint with Toulon in France, Placid admitted he did not know where his future in the game lay before he was thrown a lifeline by the Force.

Western Force winger Jonah Placid scored a hat-trick in his team's 38-15 win over the Drua in Fiji. Photo: Getty Images

"To be honest, I didn't know what I was doing when I was looking for a contract over there, I didn't know what to do," he said.

"I just came back to really enjoy my rugby again and coming here has really made me enjoy rugby again."

Placid, who will line up in a home NRC grand final for the Force against the Canberra Vikings on Saturday, does not yet know where his future lies - whether in Global Rapid Rugby with the Force or a Super Rugby squad.

"I actually don't know what I want, I'm just happy where I am at the moment," he said.

 

Placid arrived at the Force just ahead of the NRC season, although he played the final Rapid Rugby showcase where the aim was to "literally just run from anywhere and score".

The Force have taken a similar ethos into their NRC campaign, which has reignited the speedster's love for the game.

Primarily a fullback, Placid has played on the wing for the Force, where he has crossed to score nine times so far this season to be the competition's leading try-scorer. And it's not just from all-out attack.

"Steve Meehan, our defence coach, is unbelievable. He just wants us up and fast in their faces as much as we can and it was just lucky we were all up in there (last week)," Placid said.

"Last week" was the NRC semi-final against Brisbane City, where Placid's pressure at the line paid dividends when he plucked a floating pass out of the air and raced away to score the opening try of the match against the run of play.

The Vikings' defence will look to lock up Jonah Placid on Saturday, as they did on this occasion in their round 5 clash. Photo: Getty Images

It would prove pivotal to the outcome of a see-sawing game too, with Brisbane roaring back into the game late after the Force held a 25-point lead at one stage in the second half, before hanging on to seal their place in the grand final.

"Bloody oath, very nervous," Placid said of the final minutes.

"It just shows that you have to stay in it for the 80 minutes, you can't take the foot off the throat, you've got to keep at them."

Placid said the Force would draw on their united culture to defeat a Canberra side stacked with Wallabies representatives, attempting to repeat the 45-28 drubbing they handed the Vikings when they visited Perth in the fixture rounds.

"I can't believe the culture we have here, it's one of the best cultures I've ever been involved in," Placid said.

"When the club got kicked out (of Super Rugby), I think everyone just became closer and stuck together and really didn't give up.

 

"And I've just come into that and am trying to bring a good vibe. Everyone looks after everyone here."

Placid said he was looking forward to the challenge of taking on the Vikings' big guns.

"When we versed them last time, I think when you know they have Wallabies in the team you want to step up and show them you can be that level as well," he said.

"It really brings the best out of our players.

"This is the first grand final they've had here (in Perth), so they're really excited and hopefully a sea of blue fans rock up and really give us a good atmosphere."

The Western Force take on the Canberra Vikings in the NRC grand final at UWA Sports Park on Saturday, October 26, kicking off at 3pm AEDT (12pm local) and broadcast LIVE on RUGBY.com.au, Kayo and Fox Sports.