The Western Force and the University of Western Australia (UWA) are delighted to announce a strengthened partnership through the long-term naming rights of the UWA Western Force Cup.
The UWA Western Force Cup is a Western Australian public school rugby competition made possible through the generous support of Dr Andrew Forrest AO and Nicola Forrest AO, and run in collaboration with RugbyWA.
Previously known as the Rugby Schools Cup, the UWA Western Force Cup will see 13 schools from across the Perth metropolitan area compete and grow the game of rugby in WA.
Games will be played at the Joondalup Brothers (North), UWA (Central), and Rockingham (South) rugby clubs this year, with different clubs hosting each year.
The aim of the partnership and the competition is to provide a long-term sustainable pathway for young local rugby talent and provide the best educational opportunities for aspiring student athletes. This is made possible by the world class resources of UWA.
Through the partnership, the Force will enhance the ability of schools to run their own rugby programs. All participating schools will receive essential equipment, including rugby balls, tackle bags, and water bottles for training and matches.
Developing homegrown talent on and off the field is pivotal to the Western Force, and a key objective of the UWA Western Force Cup is to promote the transition from school rugby into community club rugby.
Andrew and Nicola Forrest are delighted with the grassroots focus of the competition and what it means for the state of the game in WA.
“This is another significant step in the continued efforts of the Western Force within the Western Australian community to spread the game of rugby throughout the State,” Andrew Forrest explained.
“The competition embodies the importance of rugby at the grassroots level and will play a pivotal role in ensuring aspiring local juniors continue to participate in the game for many years to come. “The boys and girls playing in the UWA Western Force Cup are the lifeblood of our sport in this State, so to provide them with every opportunity possible to pursue and learn through this partnership is truly special,” Nicola Forrest said.
Western Force CEO Tony Lewis believes the partnership illustrates the commitment of the club and UWA to rugby at all levels.
“To be partnering with a world class tertiary institution in UWA for a school rugby competition is fantastic news for the alignment of rugby in WA,” Lewis said.
“The Force is determined to continue providing a clear pathway for aspiring players, and the UWA Western Force Cup presents the perfect platform for public school students of all backgrounds to develop their rugby skills and knowledge of the game.
“Engaging with schools is essential for growing participation. Our vision is to see as many students as possible representing their school and playing for their local community rugby club. From this, the goal is to see these players join the Western Force Fortescue Academy and in time the Super Rugby Pacific and Super W team.”
UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Amit Chakma said the University was proud to help Western Force develop the game and nurture talented 12-to-18-year-olds in WA high schools.
“This partnership is one of many that demonstrates our University’s commitment to the local Western Australian community,” Professor Chakma said.
“Together, UWA and the Western Force are creating positive experiences for school students, where they can have fun and fulfil their dreams while growing the game of rugby in WA.”
RugbyWA CEO Nathan Charles emphasised the importance of the newly structured competition.
“Having the ability to target non-traditional rugby schools and engage a new market is vital to the growth of Rugby participation in WA,” Charles stated.
“The UWA Western Force Cup provides a pathway for both boys and girls to partake in a game that has unsurmountable benefits. The RugbyWA team are constantly breaking down barriers in designing, implementing, and delivering, what has to date been an extremely successful competition."
Pictured at the top (left to right): Wests Scarborough junior player Anna Wilmot, Western Force Super Rugby Pacific player Kane Koteka, Western Force Chief Executive Officer Tony Lewis, University of Western Australia Vice-Chancellor Professor Amit Chakma, RugbyWA Chief Executive Officer Nathan Charles, Western Force Super W player Sofia Bekir Fuente, and Joseph Banks Senior College student Juzdyn Raymond.