The RugbyWA U18s State Team enjoyed a successful two-match series over east, winning both matches.
A comprehensive 45-0 win over the Melbourne Rebels U18s on Friday was followed up with a hard fought 17-14 win over the ACT Brumbies U18s on Sunday to cap off a memorable tour.
Western Force Fortescue Academy (Academy) duo Ryan McGloin (captain) and Dane Sawers (co-vice-captain) played key roles in the triumphs, as WA showed its promise on the national stage.
Head Coach David Wells was delighted with the performances.
“We have a very tight-knit squad that plays for each other. From the first week of our program, the boys trained hard and pushed each other to new levels. This was evident in their performance and with how they celebrated on and off the pitch,” Wells said.
“The talent within our squad is testament to all the hard work being done by the Force and RugbyWA Academies. It’s also a credit to the clubs and their commitment to the development of players through their own academy setups.
“We have some real mature leaders within our squad, many who play premier grade for their clubs. This experience was a huge contributor to our composure and decision making under pressure and as a coaching group we fully supported them.
“From the outset, we felt support from the Force players, with Feleti (Kaitu’u) and Jeremy (Thrush) presenting the touring squad with their playing jerseys. One of the highlights on tour was the messages we received in the lead up to our game against the Brumbies U18s, which certainly gave the boys a boost.”
Force captain Kaitu’u and homegrown lock Jackson Pugh sent a combined message from the Wallabies A hotel, with Richard Kahui, Jeremy Thrush and Greg Holmes also sending messages, which were played to the team during a meeting on Sunday morning.
Academy head coach Dylan Parsons heaped praise on the pair and the strength of the Western Force and RugbyWA pathway.
“The most pleasing aspect of the Academy players’ performances is that it was what we expected of them. They handled the pressure and expectations well. Ryan showed the dynamic and electric skills when it mattered most, with Dane bringing his work ethic and power during big minutes for the team.”
“From a WA rugby perspective, it’s really promising to see the team go across to Melbourne to play the Rebels and secure such a dominant win. Victoria is seen to be in a similar position as us, so to claim a win without conceding points is a huge defensive effort and shows the fantastic work RugbyWA has been doing for the pathway and the health of the sport in the state.”
“To back it up just two days later with a close three-point win over the Brumbies showed the grit and determination within the squad. We’ve lost a few tight games over the past few years against them, so to get the result is really pleasing.”