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Thread: Foreign Players In Super Rugby Australia by Matty H

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    Foreign Players In Super Rugby Australia by Matty H

    In recent history the ARU changed the rules to allow a certain number of foreign
    players and developing foreign players to join Australian teams in the Super Competition. There have been a number of players come and go and only a few that have left a lasting impression and will be remembered in Super Rugby history.

    Western Force:

    The Emirates Western Force has had a number of ‘marquee’ foreigners but has
    often not received the return on the field to match the hype that surrounded
    their signings. Injury has often plagued the Force’s marquee signings preventing some from ever pulling on a game day jersey.



    Andre Pretouris, the former Springbok, who came to the Force as the answer
    to the problems at 10 (the jersey is surely jinxed). However the Sea of Blue was never to see him perform as he was struck down
    in the first Captains Run of the year, having torn his hamstring clean off the bone. Pretouris spent his yearlong contract on the sidelines in a Force suit and in training kit only during rehab and visits to local schools. The Force struggled through without the benefits of a top 10 or a marquee for the year and the rugby community never got to witness how well a South African 10 could slot into an Australian team.
    High hopes were placed that the talent of Willie Ripia would inject his magic into our backs. While he did play a few games for the Force, he was far from career best form and left right before round one this year due to well documented personal demons.



    David Smith is probably to date the only marquee player at the
    Force that showed his potential and was a huge contributor during the 2011 campaign. A player and crowd favourite who was justly rewarded with the Force “Best and Fairest” award in 2011. David is currently playing well with former Force and Wallaby great Matt Giteau at Toulon in the French Top 14 and has indicated that he would like to return to the Force in the future.
    Napolioni Nalaga is the current marquee player at the Force and although troubled with injury and lack of quality ball, he is showing signs of why the Force went after him. He played his best game of the year against the Lions and showed what can happen when he is involved and the ball is in his hands.

    Melbourne Rebels:

    Since their introduction the Rebels were fortunate to be able to recruit a larger
    number of international players on their roster than any other team in Super history. They had the opportunity to recruit some of the biggest names on the international market and some younger developing players from both NZ and South Africa. Of these internationals some have made it regularly into their match day 22. The larger, most notably signings were Danny Ciprani and Gareth Delve.



    Gareth Delve has become a strong leader and one of the team’s most valuable players on and off the field. As captain Gareth has stood tall in a Melbourne forward pack and has revamped his career; he must have been close to getting a recall into the National Welsh team after his consistent form in the super competition.



    While English international Danny Cipriani has showed highlights of what he can do on a field highlighted by his comprehensive kicking talent. We unfortunately only saw glimpses of his true potential and read more about his off field antics rather than his on field brilliance. This is truly unfortunate as he, of all the European players, was suited to the Super style of Rugby.
    The other Rebels international worth mentioning is Ged Robison who has been a quiet achiever but wonderful for the club following injury dramas around the hooker position. Hopefully he will stay in the competition for some time and further prove his worth.
    While the Waratahs, Reds and Brumbies haven’t in my mind used the international resource to as greater impact as the other two teams, two names stand out; The signings of Sarel Pretouris to the Waratahs and Daniel Braid for the Queensland Reds.
    Sarel has been in and out of the struggling Waratahs team, which appears to be struggling to establish its identity in recent times. He is one of the quickest halfbacks around and was a try scoring machine for the Cheetahs before heading to Australia. Unfortunately he has lacked that consistency that saw him as one of the form halfbacks in 2011. I think Sarel will only improve the longer he stays with the Tahs and forms a solid relationship with the team, particularly with the 10.
    Daniel Braid had one of the most difficult tasks and that was to fill the void that was left by David Croft at the Reds. Crofty was one of the toughest competitors around and excelled at Super Rugby. His passion and pride for QLD was second to none. Daniel was able to fill those shoes and play some of his best footy while he was in the Reds jersey. This form saw him become an All Black again once he
    returned to New Zealand’s shores.
    So we can see how many international players have entered our shores and played for our Super teams and I would say with mixed results. Some players have turned up and played their best football and even regained representative honours for their country. While others have enjoyed our sun, sand and laid back lifestyle too much and not produced their best football.



    There has been some media speculation that the Force require recruitment concessions in the form of more international players, similar to that enjoyed by the Rebels, to become a strong consistent performer in Super rugby.



    This argument is based on the challenging recruitment environment that the Western Australian based franchise has always faced. Perth is the most isolated city in the world, not just in Australia. The shortest flight for an away game is 4.5hours; unlike the teams on the east coast that have 3 away games within 2 hours flight. This also means that players and their partners are a minimum 4.5hour flight away from family and friends on the east coast.



    WA is also a well-established AFL state, with rugby union often only mentioned more than a dozen pages in from the back in the local newspaper. WA also has limited funding for community development compared to east coast states meaning this is unlikely to change any time soon. Perth does not have the club rugby stocks and structure to draw upon to develop our own players in the numbers that are required.

    Unfortunately at the moment we are also without a head coach and our captain, David Pocock, is yet to commit for 2013; I suggest that he could hardly be expected to commit when the coaching position is still not filled.



    I am from the central coast of NSW and having been in Perth for 7 years and marrying a local, I feel that this is my home. I can tell any prospective player the positives of the club, lifestyle, loyal fans and the many other benefits to my adopted home; however it does not necessarily mitigate the points that I, and others in the media, have made.



    The environment in WA is unique within Australian rugby and I feel that the standard approach employed by the governing ARU is not conducive to the success of this franchise. I feel that additional mature aged foreign players would do wonders for the performances and development of all players within the club. Five strong franchises are surely what are best for Australian rugby. Allowing the Wallabies to draw top talent from five teams who all know how to win games and play beside and against the highest talent possible.



    I believe that recruitment concessions of some sort for the Force need to be considered by the ARU to assist the club to develop into a competitive base for rugby. To date the Force have enjoyed limited returns for their internationals largely due to injuries, but their potential contribution to the team cannot be underestimated in small town Perth.





    The development of rugby in WA will definitely advance rapidly if the Force was a consistently successful, competitive team. The first Force home game at Subiaco Oval was to nearly a sold out crowd, (Ground capacity 43,500) including the highest number of members of any Super rugby franchise in the competition at the time. There is support for rugby in Perth to make it viable. But how long will the loyalty of the Sea of Blue be sustained without success? Membership numbers drop each year, as do the crowd numbers. An analysis of the WA situation is needed and something needs to be done to change the trend around to insure the Force thrives, not just survives. I will be in Perth long after I retire and I hope to be at Force games supporting a competitive team that is in the hunt for a premiership like the other fours Australian teams. With some strategic concessions from the ARU I feel that success could be a reality sooner rather than later.

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    Matt Hodgson what a Force Legend Id love to meet him and buy him a drink

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    Senior Player Hoolly Doolly's Avatar
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    id be happy to just shake his hand.

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    Id be frightened to shake his hand

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    Senior Player PerthChicka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sittingbison View Post
    Matt Hodgson what a Force Legend Id love to meet him and buy him a drink
    Can I come too? :-)

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    Great article by Hodgo. he's saying exactly what most of us have been thinking for some time. One marquee player he didn't mention and who I thought was a tremendous contributor to the Rebles is Greg Somerville.

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    Or Ben Castle.

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    castle was pretty solid for us as was fairbrother

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    Veteran TOCC's Avatar
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    which one was eligible for the Wallabies but decided to move on anyway, Fairbrother or Castle?

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    Fairbrother.

    Granny was from Melbourne I think. Deans didn't give him much of a look in.

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by travelling_gerry View Post
    Or Ben Castle.
    Yep he was great. I reckon he might have stayed a little longer if he hadn't already signed up for Europe. Makes me think the conitions in marquee contracting could be made a little more flexible.
    Posted via Mobile Device

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    Veteran Contributor hertryk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sittingbison View Post
    Matt Hodgson what a Force Legend Id love to meet him and buy him a drink
    He's signed my tryk..Woo Hoo!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by sittingbison View Post
    Matt Hodgson what a Force Legend Id love to meet him and buy him a drink
    He might not be paying for drinks for a long time after writing that!

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    C'mon the

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    Force of the future need ARU help now
    Nick Taylor, The West Australian
    June 14, 2012, 7:02 am

    Western Force and Wallabies flanker Matt Hodgson has called for a review and overhaul of the franchise to ensure its future.

    The influential foundation player has criticised the Australian Rugby Union's lack of funding for a local academy, says the club should be allowed to recruit more overseas players and questions how long suffering Force fans will stay loyal without success.

    Hodgson, who has made 82 appearances for the Force, second only behind Nathan Sharpe, is also not surprised that captain David Pocock has not recommitted while the club is without a coach

    http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/spo...-aru-help-now/

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    Champion sittingbison's Avatar
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    Guys and dolls, Matt has had his article published at The Roar. Pop over and leave a few comments, the more the merrier. He has had several very informative and entertaining articles there, one of the best journos going around. Lets give him some encouragement.

    http://www.theroar.com.au/2012/06/14...ssential-west/

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