The Future is now
The Western Force has bolstered its list for Global Rapid Rugby Season 1 with the signing of three young members of the NRC winning squad.
Fortescue Premier Grade standouts Dom Hardman and Rory O’Sullivan along with RugbyWA Senior Academy outside back Grason Makara will join the Force full-time in 2020.
Head coach Tim Sampson is anticipating great things from the talented trio and believes their ascent into the senior squad is a huge win for WA rugby.
“Dom, Rory and Grason are quality local talent and players that we have kept an eye on throughout the club competition and also through our Rugby WA pathways,” Sampson said.
“When you bring these young players into your squad after losing for example players like Kieran Longbottom and Ian Prior to injury, to then have the success we had shows the quality coming through club rugby. That is hugely beneficial to us as these players are able to transition straight into our programme.”
Having played six times for the Force in the 2019 NRC, Hardman’s re-signing is also a testament to the importance of club rugby in providing the Force with depth of talent.
The young Englishman moved from Hull to Perth to kickstart his professional rugby career and an outstanding 2019 club season with West Scarborough saw him picked up by the Force for its dominant NRC campaign.
“Getting our hands on a 22-year old English prop is fantastic,” Sampson said.
“We have had some good discussions with Dom and there are some areas he needs to work on, as all props do at that age, but he is a positive character and embraces everything we throw at him.”
Twenty-one-year-old O’Sullivan played in this year’s Rapid Rugby Showcase Series and will be looking to continue his development and grab regular game time in 2020.
A Perth native, the UWA Rugby Club product was rewarded for his consistency this year with game time against the Kagifa Samoa and Fijian Latui, scoring a try to cap off an impressive Global Rapid Rugby introduction.
“Rory grabbed the opportunity with both hands this year when Ian was injured and Issak Fines stepped into the starting role. He came on and contributed in the ways we wanted him too with no mistakes, which is what you look for from an impact player off the bench,” Sampson explained.
“I watched him for UWA and he captained them and showed his leadership qualities with them, which is great for us moving forward.”
After an unexpected debut at flanker in the Force’s NRC victory against the Melbourne Rising, 19-year-old Wanneroo outside back Makara will be looking to bring his impressive skill set to the fast-paced Rapid Rugby arena.
The young centre epitomises the strength of the development pathways within state rugby.
“Grason made it clear to me that he wanted to become a full-time rugby player and I am so happy for him that he was able to transition from the Western Force Academy into the senior squad, because he knuckled down and sacrificed a lot of things this year,” Sampson said.
“He is an abrasive player and a quality defender, I think we saw that when he played against the Tongan World Cup squad. He was direct and physical and that sealed it for us that there is something special with this kid.
“He has performed well at club level and when guys like Leon Power and Andrew Deegan – who played with him at club level – commend him on the type of player he is there are good signs.”