FORCE TACKLES OLD RIVAL IN NEW COMPETITION
In an ironic twist of fate, the Western Force will play its first game of the Vodafone Super Rugby AU 2020 competition against the last opponent when removed from the Super Rugby stage in 2017.
The team will tackle the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday, July 11 after an opening-round bye, before tackling the Reds, Brumbies and Rebels in the five-team, 10 round competition.
Head coach Tim Sampson is looking forward to the challenge and bringing rugby back to the fans.
“Everyone here is excited and we are preparing well. Now that the draw is out, the squad are counting down the days till kick-off to our first game on 11 July… against the Tahs, our last Super Rugby opponent!”
Rugby Australia interim CEO Rob Clarke made specific reference to the return of the Western Force when announcing the full fixture today.
“We are looking forward to welcoming back the Western Force and seeing them take on their Australian rivals once again. We know there is a lot of excitement in the west and we cannot wait to see them in action,” Clarke said.
Global Rapid Rugby CEO Mark Evans is expecting the Force to showcase the strong rugby pride in WA.
“The players have continued to work hard on the training paddock since the inaugural Global Rapid Rugby season was cancelled,” he said.
“Going head-to-head with Super Rugby quality teams will be a challenge. But in true Western Australian fashion, there will be no excuses.”
WA border restrictions mean the Force may be based in New South Wales for the first few weeks of the competition and may have to play a home game in the eastern states. However, discussions continue with the State Government in the hope that home games can be played in Perth.
The competition is scheduled to begin in closed stadiums across the country, with both Force and Rugby Australia officials regularly monitoring the situation.
“Whatever scenario the Force face, rest assured the coach and the players will be ready to take on any opposition anywhere,” Evans said.
News that all games will be broadcast live via Fox Sports and Kayo was welcomed by the Force.
“It’s exciting to know that the entertaining brand of rugby the Western Force has developed in the last few years will be on display in prime time right across the country. Because Vodafone Super Rugby AU is one of the first rugby competitions to return from Coronavirus, I know there is great interest internationally as well,” Evans said.