Force welcome pressure of Super Rugby AU

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Western Force coach Tim Sampson has welcomed the pressure that will be on the side as they prepare to compete in Super Rugby AU.

The Force have agreed to be part of the Australian Super Rugby competition slated to being on July 3, three years after being axed from the Super Rugby competition in 2017.

Since then, the Force have competed with Asia Pacific teams in Global Rapid Rugby and also played in the NRC, winning the latter in 2019.

Sampson admitted there would be pressure on the team to ensure they are competitive against the current Super Rugby teams but it was a challenge he welcomed.

"Without a doubt, there is going to be pressure there and we’ll put that and discuss it," he said.

"We know we’re going to be under pressure, it’s how we prep for that train for that and when we do play it’s how we apply that with what we've discussed and played for.

"We’ll be under pressure internally and it’s that bit of extra motivation as well that we want to perform well, we’ve been craving this for a couple of years."

Sampson said the NRC experiences they have had gave them confidence they could more than mix it with the Super Rugby sides.

"We spoke about that, about what we can gauge ourselves against the other teams," he said.

"We also had a good NRC team and the opposition teams in NRC some days rolled out teams with 15, 16 contracted  players in their squad so we’ve discussed that," he said.

"We’re under no illusions we have to improve as well individually and the staff ave put a lot of effort in the last six weeks to make sure with our prep we’re on point and we’re focusing to be the best prepared team in Australia.

There'll be some individual players with a personal point to prove having found their way to the Force after being released by Super Rugby franchises in the past, Sampson said.

"I think we’ve had players still with us now who were with us in 2017 and a number of years before that," he said.

"We’ve recruited players who were coming through pathway systems at other clubs and got them over here.

"They love it here, they’re part of our club now which I think also builds excitement to then have an opportunity  to play against their former clubs.

Sampson said he was confident that the team wouldn't have to draw on players beyond their 33-player squad.

'We're certainly focused just on our squad which is really important. First and foremost making sure these guys are settled, chomping at the bit to get out and train and play."

While a draw is yet to be released for the competition, it is expected that the Force will be required to spend time in an east coast hub, most likely in New South Wales, if the WA borders remain closed for the time being.