Crusader one fortnight, Force the next as Coxon rushed into Force side amid prop crisis

Wed, Feb 28, 2024, 8:22 AM
by AAP and Nathan Williamson
Former Chiefs, Crusaders prop Ryan Coxon has been rushed into the starting side. Photo: Getty Images
Former Chiefs, Crusaders prop Ryan Coxon has been rushed into the starting side. Photo: Getty Images

Three weeks ago, prop Ryan Coxon was in England laying down a haka before the Crusaders' clash with powerhouse Bristol.

Now, the 26-year-old finds himself making his Super Rugby starting debut on the other side of the world for new club Western Force.

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Force coach Simon Cron has been forced to sign former fringe Crusaders and Chiefs prop Coxon on an injury-replacement contract after several injuries.

Coxon has been rushed straight into the starting side as a replacement for Pearce, who was suspeded for a month.

Fellow Force props Siosifa Amone (thumb), Harry Hoopert and Angus Wagner (both knee) are also missing.

"We've got three (props) down at the moment," Cron said.

"You've always got to be smart as coaches when you're tracking (options) No.4 and No.5.

"With Ryan coming in, we knew about him, we were watching him, we just didn't think we'd have to put him in this quickly.

"We looked around everywhere and he's probably the most suited to getting in at Super Rugby right now."

Coxon played six games for the Chiefs in 2019 and 2020 before featuring in the NPC for Tasman.

Cron said former All Blacks prop Atu Moli was getting close to playing.

"Atu's training really well. He's doing great stuff at tighthead for us," Cron said.

"It's just (about) continuing his running loads.

"We think at the moment though he's really close to being at his best, and we want to make sure he gets there before we play him."

Fellow Tasman front-rower Feleti Kaitu’u comes onto the bench as the Wallaby looks to re-gain his spot in the squad after a strong season in New Zealand that saw him win the club's Rookie of the Year award.

FORCE (1-15):  Ryan Coxon, Tom Horton, Santiago Medrano, Jeremy Williams, Thomas Franklin, Michael Wells, Carlo Tizzano, Will Harris, Nic White, Ben Donaldson, Chase Tiatia, Hamish Stewart, Sam Spink, Harry Potter, Max Burey

RESERVES: Feleti Kaitu’u, Charlie Hancock, Tiaan Tauakipulu, Tim Anstee, Lopeti Faifua, Ollie Callan, Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, George Poolman

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