Playmaker Pasitoa key to Force Super start

Sun, Feb 27, 2022, 4:36 AM
Melissa Woods - AAP
by Melissa Woods - AAP
The Melbourne Rebels hosted the Western Force at AAMI Park.

While Test great Tim Horan is already calling for Reesjan Pasitoa to be fast-tracked into the Wallabies, Western Force coach Tim Sampson says the young Super Rugby Pacific playmaker shouldn't be rushed.

The 20-year-old was key to the Force's thumping 28-3 win over Melbourne, taking the line on to set up an early second-half try that deflated the Rebels in their return to AAMI Park on Saturday night.

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Horan, now a rugby commentator, says Pasitoa must be earmarked for Wallabies selection. "Reesjan Pasitoa has to be in the Wallabies squad in 2022. Early days I know, but he is a future star. At 20 years old....the time is right," Horan tweeted.

Pasitoa was raised in Perth before moving to Queensland on a rugby scholarship and then signing with the Brumbies as a 17-year-old, going on to play 10 matches.

Realising his path to the No.10 jersey in Canberra was blocked by another young gun in Noah Lolesio, he took up the offer to move home.

Ahead of a mouth-watering clash with Queensland in Perth on Friday night, Sampson said Pasitoa had passed every test thrown at him since his arrival.

"He had a really good pre-season with us. We threw a lot of responsibility his way over the last few months and it was by design," Sampson said.

"We wanted to challenge him and enable him to show some leadership qualities in meetings and out on the field.

"He's going really well."


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While Sampson acknowledged Pasitoa had a bright future, he cautioned about piling too much pressure on the youngster who was still finding his way as a regular starter.

"We've just got to relax and let the young fella concentrate on week to week what he needs to for himself and also for our team," Sampson said. 

"He's got a bright future, no doubt, but let's not put too much pressure on him."

Sampson credited the Force's set piece dominance over the hapless Rebels for giving Pasitoa space and time but said they would need to improve against the unbeaten Reds.

Queensland sit third on the Super Rugby Pacific ladder with the Brumbies top after two rounds.

"Your game thrives on the backend of a good set piece and that's going really well and we've changed some stuff up within our attack system and that's worked well the last couple of weeks," Sampson said.

"It's nice but we know we've got to get better and coming out of this game and playing the Reds we're going to have to be better again."