Rugby Union 3 years ago

Perth Spirit Boasts Deep Line-up

  • Perth Spirit Boasts Deep Line-up

THE FACTS

The next few months for Rugby WA looks very bright after naming a 40-man Perth Spirit squad for the National Rugby Championship (NRC) which kicks off in August.

The team is split in half with 20 Premier Grade players mixing with 20 Western Force players to represent Western Australia. The Spirit also have three Wallaby representatives in Nathan Charles, Ben McCalman and Matt Hodgson, although based on previous years it is unlikely they will play.

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With each Premier Grade club being represented, Western Force coach Michael Foley has called the Spirit an extension of the Western Force squad and will provide great opportunities for all of the players. 

“While a number of our front line Super Rugby players will target improvement in speed, power and skill, the Perth Spirit match program will present a great opportunity for a number of the Force’s younger players to experience competition at one level up from club rugby," he said. 

"To complement our younger professional players, we have identified a number of aspiring local players that will be given the chance to stake a claim for squad positions into the future."

THE ANALYSIS

It is clear that the most exciting and powerful aspect of this team is the forward pack, in particular the tight-five.

Starting in the front row, they have named three Western Force props including Oliver Hoskins, Tetera Faulkner and Pek Cowan. Cowan is a proven leader at the club already establishing himself as a world class player.

Hoskins and Faulkner are two young props who will truly become the future of the club. Both players are signed through until the end of the 2016 season and the NRC will be a fantastic oppurtunity for them to develop over the offseason. 

Backing them up will be a handful of local talent with three additional Premier Grade props who Michael Foley and co. obviously have a lot of faith in.

The hooker spot is probably the strongest out of every position with three out of the four players named coming from the Western Force. This also includes Wallaby Nathan Charles who has come off a strong Super Rugby season and performed well at international level.

Only two Western Force locks have been named in Sam Wykes and new Force signing Rory Walton, however they will be backed up by three of the strongest locks in the Premier Grade in Kieran Stringer (Cottesloe), Brent Murphy (Perth Bayswater) and Scott Stevens (Nedlands). 

With the depth of this tight-five we will likely see the Spirit punching the ball through defences on the pick-and-go and look to exhaust the ball to one side to keep defences folding around the corner, much like the Western Force do in Super Rugby.

They will also have a very strong set piece with the line-out commanded by experienced hookers and locks and both a heavy an technically sound scrum.

THE SQAUD

Here is the 40 man squad that was named as per RugbyWA.com . 

Name

Position

Club

Robbie

Abel

Hooker

Cottesloe/Western Force

Marcel

Brache

Centre/wing

Perth Bayswater/Western Force

Luke

Burton

Flyhalf/centre

UWA/Western Force

Nathan

Charles

Hooker

Palmyra/Western Force

Pek

Cowan

Prop

Wests Scarborough/Western Force

Tetera

Faulkner

Prop

Wanneroo/Western Force

Nili

Fielea

Wing

Cottesloe

Kyle

Godwin

Centre

Associates/Western Force

Richard

Hardwick

Flanker

UWA

Dane

Haylett-Petty

Fullback/wing

Cottesloe/Western Force

Ross

Haylett-Petty

No.8

Cottesloe

Chris

Heiberg

Prop

Perth Bayswater/Western Force

Alec

Hepburn

Prop

Cottesloe

Matt

Hodgson

Flanker

Wanneroo/Western Force

Zack

Holmes

Flyhalf

Associates/Western Force

Oliver

Hoskins

Prop

Cottesloe/Western Force

Kane

Koteka

Flanker

Wests Scarborough

Brad

Lacey

Wing

Wests Scarborough

Dillyn

Leyds

Fullback/flyhalf

Palmyra

Va'a

Mailei

Wing

Palmyra

Ammon

Matuauto

Centre

Associates

Ben

McCalman

No.8

Kalamunda/Western Force

Luke

Morahan

Wing/fullback

Kalamunda/Western Force

Brent

Murphy

Lock

Perth Bayswater

Ian

Prior

Scrumhalf

Nedlands/Western Force

Junior

Rasolea

Centre

Cottesloe/Western Force

Alex

Rovira

No.8

Associates

Michael

Ruru

Scrumhalf

Nedlands

Joe

Savage

Prop

Palmyra

Harry

Scoble

Hooker

UWA

Brynard

Stander

Flanker

Nedlands/Western Force

Scott

Stevens

Lock

Nedlands

Kieran

Stringer

Lock

Cottesloe

Davis

Tavita

Flyhalf

Nedlands

Heath

Tessmann

Hooker

Nedlands/Western Force

Corey

Thomas

Flanker

UWA

Justin

Turner

Scrumhalf

Associates

Rory

Walton

Lock

Wests Scarborough/Western Force

Francois

van Wyk

Prop

UWA

Sam

Wykes

Lock

Wests Scarborough/Western Force

Here is their NRC schedule

Round

Date

Home Team

Away Team

Venue

Time (local)

1

Sat 23 Aug

Canberra Vikings

Perth Spirit

Viking Park, Canberra

2.30pm

2

Sun 31 Aug

Perth Spirit

Brisbane City

University of WA, Perth

3.30pm

3

Sat 6 Sept

Perth Spirit

Greater Sydney Rams

Adelaide Airport Stadium, Adelaide

2.00pm

4

Thurs 11 Sept

Melbourne Rising

Perth Spirit

AAMI Park, Melbourne

7.30pm

5

Sat 20 Sept

North Harbour Rays

Perth Spirit

Brookvale Oval, Sydney

5.30pm

6

Sun 28 Sept

Perth Spirit

Sydney Stars

HBF Arena, Perth

3.30pm

7

Sat 4 Oct

Perth Spirit

Queensland Country

Rockingham RUC, Perth

3.30pm

8

 

Perth Spirit

BYE

   

9

Sat 18 Oct

NSW Country Eagles

Perth Spirit

Caltex Park, Dubbo

3.00pm

Semi Finals

TBC

1st

4th

TBC (1st Team venue)

TBC

TBC

2nd

3rd

TBC (2nd Team venue)

TBC

Final

TBC

Semi 1 Winner

Semi 2 Winner

TBC (Top team venue)

TBC

Article by Luke Worthington. Follow Luke on Twitter at @LWTrey5

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