Players to keep your eye on
With two action-packed and hotly contested Super Rugby AU clashes under the belt, it’s fair to say there’s been a number of standout performances emerge from those playing in the blue and black.
From Byron Ralston’s try-frenzy, Tevin Ferris’ massive defensive efforts, and everything in between, it’s been a memorable and entertaining return to Super Rugby for the Western Force.
The most obvious place to start is with Ralston, our leading try scorer.
Fresh from scoring a well-taken double against the Reds, including a highlight reel-worthy 80m breakaway try, the 20-year-old has been on fire.
The winger announced himself to the competition during the club’s opening match, scoring the first Force try since 2017 in Super Rugby. Ralston showed great poise to latch onto Henry Stowers’ powerful run and perfectly timed pass to then beat one defender before crossing the line with 29 minutes on the clock against the Waratahs.
This proved to be a sign of things to come, with the Darwin-born speedster continuing his fine form on Friday night at Suncorp Stadium against the Reds. From the two games so far, along with the three tries, Ralston has been influential throughout with 188 metres gained from 18 carries to see him now sit equal top on the try-scoring charts.
It’s not just in the attacking department that the Force squad has had some notable displays, with Tevin Ferris outstanding in defence.
With a game-high 21 tackles against the Waratahs followed up by another 21 against the Reds, Ferris has led by example with his relentless effort, grittiness, and consistency in the moments the team has needed him most.
Another player that has been hugely important for the Force over the past two weeks, especially against the Reds, is Angus Wagner. The 23-year-old prop, who has completed 23 tackles, had the unenviable task of nullifying Wallabies star Taniela Tupou, but it was a challenge the front-rower grabbed with both hands.
“To stand up and scrummage like he did was outstanding,” Force coach Tim Sampson stated to the West Australian.
“Against Taniela, who has been the dominant tighthead in this competition, he was brilliant.
“He’s a very good defender. He’s a young fella who has come on really well.”
It hasn’t just been Ralston, Ferris, and Wagner that have stood out in the early stages of our Super Rugby AU season, with Jacob Abel putting in an assured performance off the bench against the Reds following Ian Prior’s premature, but precautionary exit from the match.
Abel’s passing (61 completed passes), vision, and eight tackles showcasing the great depth of the squad, with Andrew Ready another substitute who had an impact on the game scoring a powerful try from the moving scrum.