There is every chance that Western Force are in a stronger place now without being in Super Rugby as they rammed home their power in Saturday’s National Rugby Championship grand final win over the Canberra Vikings.
The Force are thriving just two years after Rugby Australia’s announcement that they were being axed from Super Rugby, while the rest of Australian rugby continues to battle for relevance.
Mining magnate Andrew Forrest jumped on board to back the Force and he has created Global Rapid Rugby for them to compete in against teams from Fiji, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Samoa, and Singapore – and it has proved a success.
The Force also dominated the 2019 NRC season, winning the minor premiership and then backing that up with an emphatic 41-3 grand final victory at UWA Sports Park on Saturday against Canberra.
The win was secured by a five-try second half as the Force held the Vikings scoreless after leading 7-3 at halftime.
Lock Fergus Lee-Warner won the Phil Waugh Medal and was one of the try scorers – having been set up by hooker Heath Tessman, who scored a double himself.
Halfback Andrew Deegan capped off his superb grand final, in which he finished with 11 points, with a brilliant kick to set up a try for Jonah Placid.
Coach Tim Sampson couldn’t be prouder as his breakthrough arrived with the NRC crown.
“Winning this NRC title was a monkey off my back too,” Sampson said.
“It’s so hard to make a grand final and this year’s tournament was pretty even but I’m going to celebrate this.
“Our guys appreciate all that support, whether it’s the Forrests and Minderoo (Foundation) or the supporters.
“They respect them so much. They are the guys that drive us as well, it’s a two-way street. It’s not one-way traffic.”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 26, 2019
But in Perth there’s a bigger picture and Sampson is more than happy to be on board.
“It has been a huge achievement for the club to be in the position it’s in now, but the best lies ahead for the Western Force,” he said.
“It is a slow build in general and 18 months ago when a lot of us came together.
“It is a slow build but we are going to get there.”
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