Brutal Reds departure a "kick up the backside" for Force recruit Frisby

Super Rugby - AU
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

New Force recruit Nick Frisby says a brutal departure form Australian rugby was the "kick up the backside" he needed in his rugby career.

Frisby was unveiled as one of the WA franchise's new recruits last week, along with a host of other familiar names in recent weeks.

The scrumhalf will be playing Super Rugby for the first time in three years after a roller coaster run of fortune saw him leave the Reds, where he had spent his entire professional career.

A stellar 2016 Super Rugby season earned Frisby a Wallabies debut against England and he went on to win five Test caps that season.

The halfback's form went downhill in 2017, coinciding in the rise of Moses Sorovi in Queensland, and things went from bad to worse under then coach Nick Stiles.

Off the field, he and teammate Andrew Ready were sent back to club rugby for missing a recovery session after spending a post-match night out drinking.

When Brad Thorn took over ahead of the 2018 season, Frisby and Quade Cooper were told not to bother turning up to preseason training as they were not in Thorn's plans.

That news came when Frisby still had two years on his contract and plans to push for a 2019 Rugby World Cup spot.

A month later, Frisby had signed a loan deal with French side Bordeaux and then spent the better part of two seasons with Glasgow in the Pro14.

Looking back now, Frisby said that abrupt departure was a blessing in disguise.

"I think I was just so comfortable in Queensland," he told RUGBY.com.au.

"I'd lived there my whole life, I'd been at the Reds for eight years I think by then and I took my opportunities a little bit for granted.

Nick Frisby speaks to media during his time with the Reds. Photo: QRU Media/Brendan Hertel"I had a good couple of years there but then my last year, I might've got a bit complacent and just a bit comfortable.

"I wasn't really playing to the standards that I would like to.

"I had a few incidents off the field as well which, looking back, a bit more mature now, I probably kicked stones about the way I was treated rather than just putting my head down and getting back to work and getting the hard work and putting in on the field.

"Thorny had the balls to stand up and say, 'Look it's time to move on', and I respect that and it's been good for me."

Frisby said he had no hard feelings about the way his time with the Reds ended as he prepares to potentially go head-to-head with Thorn's side in this new competition.

"I don't hold any grudges or any regrets about how it all played out," he said.

"If I'm being honest with myself, it was the kick up the backside I needed at the time.

"It's been good to, after that, to get out of Australia and go and try something different overseas and I've really enjoyed that but in saying that, really excited to be back in Australia now. I've really missed being at home and excited to get back into Super Rugby over here."

Frisby was released by the Warriors after their Pro14 season was shut down this year and returned to Brisbane last month with no concrete plans for his rugby future.

Nick Frisby in action for Glasgow. Photo: Getty ImagesAfter two weeks' quarantine, Frisby was looking to return to his Brisbane club GPS and see what that led to.

Then Force coach Tim Sampson called.

"Tim just gave me a call and asked whether I'd be interested in coming over for the Super Rugby season and I wasn't really thinking that I was a chance to be involved in that because i'd obviously just come back from overseas," he said.

"I was just seeing really where everything would be at once the virus was cleared. 

"I was excited to get the call from him and I'm looking forward to getting over there and having a crack.

Ironically, Frisby now finds himself in a competition where every player is vying to impress new Wallabies coach Dave Rennie, the man he has played two seasons under with Glasgow.

"I never really knew when I was going to Glasgow that he could potentially be an Australian Wallaby coach so it's been quite funny but I think everyone knows how good a coach he is and it's good to see him get a crack and it's good for Australia to have him as well.

"I think he'll do an awesome job and I'm really looking forward to what he can do with some of this good young talent coming through.

"Definitely my focus is to come back and play my best rugby and get back to where I'd been in the past...it's early days, but I think every rugby player in Australia should be aspiring to play for Australia so it's in the back of my mind but I think at the moment, I'm just really focused on getting back into Australia and getting settled in."

Ian Prior will be Frisby's biggest competition. Photo: Getty ImagesHis first challenge with his new team, though, will be competing with captain Ian Prior for a start.

"We're no strangers to competing against each other, we came through the academy at similar times and were at the Reds at similar times and then obviously played against each other a hell of a lot," he said.

"I know Ian well and it'll be good. I'm looking forward to competing with him but working with him as well and learning and helping him if I can as well so it'll be good.

"It's a big hurdle, he's the captain of the side, he's obviously been over there now for a few years and got runs on the board so looking forward to it."

The Force will travel to NSW this week to begin life in their Hunter Valley hub ahead of a Saturday night clash with the Waratahs at the SCG.

The Force take on the Waratahs at the SCG on Saturday July 11, kicking off at 7:15pm AEST, 5;15pm AWST, LIVE on Foxtel, Foxtel Now and Kayo Sports. Buy a Kayo subscription here.