The Western Force will share the stage with some of the country's best women's rugby players when they play a curtain-raiser to the RugbyWA-Queensland Reds Super W clash on Saturday.
The Force will take on Shute Shield side Eastwood in a pre-season trial ahead of their Global Rapid Rugby season, ahead of RugbyWA's round two Super W clash against the Reds.
While many of the eastern states' Super W fixtures have been scheduled as curtain-raisers for Super Rugby clashes, the Force will open proceedings in Perth, with captain Ian Prior excited his side can lend support to the women.
“It’s fantastic, between RugbyWA and the Force, we are one club and it’s great to represent the WA rugby program and pathway as a whole organisation and we are honored we can add to the women’s event,” Prior said.
“It’s going to be great to get our first competitive match out of the way and then enjoy some top-class rugby when we watch the RugbyWA side play afterwards.
“The team (RugbyWA women) have some young exciting talent. WA always seems to produce good players male and female, so I think we’ve unearthed some stars there."
Prior's enthusiasm for the women's pathway is due in part to his excitement at there being an avenue for his own daughter to play the game in the future if she chooses.
“Looking at all female sport in Australia, it’s booming and rugby is looking to be a very competitive landscape with a lot of athletes jumping codes to be a part of it,” he said.
“I’ve got a daughter of my own so it’s super encouraging to see the potential pathway open up if she wants to play later in life and to see she’ll get those opportunities.”
Prior said playing Eastwood would be a great test for the Force ahead of their Global Rapid Rugby opener on March 14.
“Eastwood is a very successful Sydney club and it will be a good test to see if things are working on the field and where our conditioning is at,” Prior said.
“It’s going to be a good first hit-out and it’s rewarding we can play on the same day as the RugbyWA women.”
The Western Force will take on Eastwood Rugby Club at Success Sportsplex in Perth, on Saturday February 22, kicking off at 5pm AEDT, followed by RugbyWA against the Queensland Reds from 7pm AEDT (4pm local). The Super W clash will be broadcast LIVE on RUGBY.com.au.