Western Force and RugbyWA join forces ahead of Super Rugby U16 and U19 Tournament

Mon, Sep 4, 2023, 8:58 AM
by Western Force Media
Western Force and RugbyWA join forces ahead of Super Rugby U16 and U19 Tournament_video

Western Force and RugbyWA join forces ahead of U16 and U19 Super Rugby Tournament

In a collaborative partnership with RugbyWA, the Western Force U16s and U19s will compete in a five-team Super Rugby competition, kicking off in late September.

The aim of the Super Rugby backed competition offers the state’s emerging talent an opportunity to utilise the facilities, coaches and support staff of a professional rugby union club.

Both the Western Force and RugbyWA are committed to developing a range of pathways for aspiring players and coaches. The competition will provide a great platform for both emerging coaches and young players to showcase their skills and gain exposure to high-level competitions.

RugbyWA Chief Executive Officer Simon Taylor said that the synergy between both organisations demonstrates the strength of the partnership in promoting the growth of Rugby in WA.

“[The partnership] provides a clear connection from the grassroots to the elite at both a coaching and player level, ensuring our players of the future can clearly see this connection and aspire to continue to develop and be the best versions of themselves.”

RugbyWA’s Head of Pathways Chris Heiberg added that this collaboration provides Perth players an opportunity to proudly represent the Western Force and their state.

“This is great for rugby in WA. The players can visually see and feel the opportunities in front of them as they wear the Force colours.”

Western Force’s General Manager of the Fortescue Academy Chris Goodman echoed Heiberg’s sentiment stating that working together with RugbyWA marks a huge win for WA rugby players.

“Working together with RugbyWA, we have designed a program that establishes a clear performance pathway for not only WA players but coaches, physiotherapists and management.”

The Western Force U19s will be led by Fortescue Academy Head Coach, Dylan Parsons, alongside Assistant Coaches Jeremy Thrush, Colin Phillips and Ian Prior.

The Western Force U16s will be led by Head Coach Denis Skillen supported by Assistant Coach Jerard Saunders and Development Coach Gavin Laycock.

The wider training squads for both teams have been training for the month alongside their club rugby commitments, with final squads to be confirmed by September 22.

U19s Head Coach Dylan Parsons said that their aim is to show them what a professional environment looks like, and discussed with the team what the coaching team expects of them in terms of standards and behaviours.

“If we can see some of that start to come through, it gives them tools around their next steps in the pathway.”

Former All Black and Force Lock Jeremy Thrush added “This lets us have a really good look at who is coming through from a talent point of view in the Perth rugby community.”

“For the players, it shows them an insight on where they could potentially get to if they have the desire to one day become a professional rugby player.”

The competitions are due to run in September and October. The Force will compete in eight fixtures in total, four U16 and four U19 games, with the potential to qualify for the Grand Final on Sunday November 5.

Four games will be played in Perth, played as two double headers at Revo Fitness Stadium, Claremont, on Saturday September 30 against the Melbourne Rebels and Saturday October 21 against the ACT Brumbies.

The Western Force’s purpose of inspiring passion and success for our game, club and community wouldn’t be possible without the broadened support from our loyal sponsors.

Fortescue will don the front of the jersey, building on their Major Partnership of the Force’s Performance teams and Academy Program. Joining them will be fellow long-term club partners Goodyear, CD Dodd and the Future Force Foundation.

Regional Rugby Partner AFGRI Equipment has levelled up its support of the Force along with the club’s Official Recruitment Partner, Collar Group.

Joining these existing sponsors are SLW Transport, a long-term supporter of the Force’s pathway program, new partner the Rendezvous Hotel, who’ll sponsor the team’s jersey presentation even at the iconic Scarborough location and Elan, a company that transforms waste tyres into sustainable raw materials with no waste or by-products.

Western Force Business Development Manager Huw Lock said the support provided by the range of sponsors aids the Force’s aspirations in developing pathways for aspiring WA talent.

“We acknowledge and appreciate their support in this exciting new era for pathway rugby in WA.”

Watch every game live and on-demand via Stan Sport.

U19s Coaching Group

Dylan Parsons – Head Coach

Jeremy Thrush – Forwards Coach

Colin Phillips – Defence Coach

Ian Prior - Specialist Coach

U16s Coaching Group

Denis Skillen – Head Coach

Jerard Saunders – Assistant Coach

Gavin Laycock – Development Coach


*All times local

Round 1 – Saturday September 30, Revo Fitness Stadium, Claremont

  • Western Force U16s v Melbourne Rebels U16s, 11:40am
  • Western Force U19s v Melbourne Rebels U19s, 1:20pm

Round 2 – Sunday October 8, Ballymore

  • Queensland Reds U16s v Western Force U16s, 12:05pm
  • Queensland Reds U19s v Western Force U19s, 1:45pm

Round 3 – BYE Weekend

Round 4 – Saturday October 21, Revo Fitness Stadium, Claremont

  • Western Force U16s v ACT Brumbies U16s, 12:05pm
  • Western Force U19s v ACT Brumbies U19s, 1:45pm

Round 5 – Sunday October 29, Forshaw Rugby Park, NSW

  • NSW Waratahs U16s v Western Force U16s, 11:40pm
  • NSW Waratahs U19s v Western Force U19s, 1:20pm

Grand Final – Sunday November 5 [Venue TBC]