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Western Force sign ex-England hooker who will soon be Wallabies eligible

By AAP
Nic Dolly of Leicester Tigers prepares for a line out during the Premiership Rugby Cup match between Leicester Tigers and Ampthill Rugby at Mattioli Woods Welford Road Stadium on September 24, 2023 in Leicester, England. (Photo by Graham Chadwick/Getty Images)

The Western Force’s signing spree has continued with the capture of one-cap England international Nic Dolly for the 2025 Super Rugby Pacific season.

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The announcement of Dolly’s deal comes with the Force looking to stabilise after a 1-6 start to the current campaign ahead of Saturday’s bottom-of-the-table clash against the equally struggling Crusaders at HBF Park in Perth.

Dolly, who was born and raised in Sydney, has spent the last seven years playing in England, most recently with Premiership Rugby club Leicester Tigers.

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The 24-year-old hooker notched his sole Test for England in 2021 having represented the country at under-age level.

His international call-up under then-coach Eddie Jones came during an impressive 2021-22 season when he scored nine tries in 21 games in Premiership Rugby and the European Rugby Champions Cup.

Dolly will link up with the Force in July and will be eligible to represent the Wallabies by November.

His signing comes just a week after the Force snapped up former Wallabies hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa, who will also link up with the Perth-based franchise in July after spending the past three years in France.

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Earlier this month, the Force announced the signing of former Wallabies star Kurtley Beale for the rest of the season on an injury-replacement contract.

Beale will make his debut for the side in Saturday night’s clash with the Crusaders in Perth.

Head-to-Head

Last 4 Meetings

Wins
1
Draws
0
Wins
3
Average Points scored
22
36
First try wins
50%
Home team wins
75%

Another ex-Wallaby, lock Sam Carter, recently signed with the Force for the remainder of the season.

Dolly said the time was right for his return home to Australia, and he was looking forward to playing under Force coach Simon Cron.

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“I’ve been over here for seven years, and I always had a plan to go back home to play rugby,” Dolly said in a statement.

“The long-term plan and direction the (Force) is going is exciting, with Crono locked in for the next few years.

“I spoke to Harry Potter, in particular, along with Carts (Sam Carter) and in terms of culture and what the club is trying to do, it’s all been positive and something I believe I can add to, both on and off field.”

The Force face a battle to avoid the wooden spoon after opening their season with just one win in seven.

Surprisingly, the Crusaders are also 1-6 in what marks a huge fall from grace for the powerful New Zealand outfit.

But with eight of the 12 teams in the competition qualifying for finals, the winner of Saturday’s clash will be back in the mix.

The Force are aiming to bounce back from their crushing 50-3 loss to the Blues in round seven

Beale will start at fullback, while Michael Wells (knee) and Izack Rodda (quad) will make their return via the bench.

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J
Jon 23 hours ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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