Race on for next Force fetcher

Sun, 13 Jan 2013 10:09
Large anguscottrellwaratahs Large anguscottrellhurricanes Large david pocock force2 630

The race for the Western Force No.7 jersey vacated by David Pocock is on ahead of the Perth franchise’s Super Rugby campaign.

The race for the Western Force No.7 jersey vacated by David Pocock is on ahead of the Perth franchise’s opening Super Rugby clash against the Rebels in Melbourne on February 15.

The former Force captain’s departure to the Brumbies have left the fetcher berth up for the taking and the push is on as a host of talented loose forwards aim to claim the starting place.

In addition to regulars like Matt Hodgson, Richard Brown and Ben McCalman, and rising stars Angus Cottrell and Locky McCaffrey, the competition has increased with the arrivals of Chris Alcock from the Waratahs and former Reds and Wallaby star Hugh McMeniman, who returns after a stint in Japan.

Cottrell, who has returned for his second season with the Western Force, says the intensity at training has reflected the players’ desire to wear the No.6, No.7 and No.8 jerseys.

“It’s tough; I couldn’t put a finger on who’s going to be there come Round One against the Rebels,” he said. “Fingers crossed I’ll hopefully get a start but there are new guys like Alcock and Hughy, and then there’s guys that have been here already like Hodgo, Browny, McCaffrey, McCalman.”

While the task of dislodging one of his more experienced team mates may seem daunting to some, Cottrelll says he is better prepared for his follow-up Super Rugby season, after playing in seven matches during 2012.

Plucked from the Wests Bulldogs in the Brisbane club competition to represent the Western Force in their Samoan tour at the end of 2011, Cottrell impressed over the two matches and went on to earn an Extended Playing Squad Contract for 2012.

Having graduated to a full contract for the upcoming season, the 23-year-old says he knows what to expect of himself and the competition the second year round.

“Last year I didn’t really have a [physical] base,” he said. “Last year I came in unfit, probably a bit overweight and not very strong so to have gone through a full year I can really attack this pre-season leading into 2013.

“Coming here last year I didn’t expect to play many games. I came here on the back of a lot of good players and through injury I was lucky enough to get the first five games out.  

“I wasn’t expecting to get many games but to get them, I was absolutely over the moon, and to end up getting seven [games] was a pretty good year for me, I was very happy with it.

“In 2013, even though it’s going to be tough with even more competition, I want to get as many games out as I can and build on the performances from 2012.”

Cottrell played a starring role at No.8 for Associates in last year’s Pindan Premier Grade premiership-winning season but is eyeing off his favoured blindside flank role with the Force in 2013 – having started there on four occasions in 2012.

With that preference pitting him against the likes of McMeniman, Brown and McCalman, he is confident that it’s a case of another year older, another year wiser.

“[The main learning from last year has been] probably to work as a team,” he said. “Coming from club football, you did more than just your own role but here if you [just need to] know your role and stick to that and connect with the other fellas. That was probably the main thing that I worked on – doing my part and letting everything else unfold.”

Free State Cheetahs vs Blue Bulls
sast: 16h00 | local: 16h00

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Sat, 22 October 2016
Munster v Glasgow Warriors 12h00 Thomond Park
Free State Cheetahs v Blue Bulls 14h00 Bloemfontein
Clermont Auvergne v Bordeaux 14h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Castres v Northampton Saints 15h15 Stade Pierre Antoine
Saracens v Scarlets 16h30 Allianz Park
Ulster v Exeter Chiefs 18h45 Kingspan Stadium
Sun, 23 October 2016
Montpellier v Leinster 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Toulouse v Wasps 15h15 Le Mans
Zebre v Connacht 15h15 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Leicester Tigers v Racing Metro 16h30 Welford Road
Fri, 28 October 2016
Ulster v Munster 18h05 Kingspan Stadium
Glasgow Warriors v Treviso 18h35 Scotstoun Stadium
Edinburgh v Zebre 18h35 BT Murrayfield
Cardiff Blues v Scarlets 18h35 BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park
Northampton Saints v Gloucester 18h45 Franklin's Gardens
Sat, 22 October 2016
New Zealand v Australia 37 | 10
Fri, 21 October 2016
Sale Sharks v Toulon 5 | 15
Sun, 16 October 2016
Exeter Chiefs v Clermont Auvergne 8 | 35
Bordeaux v Ulster 28 | 13
Sat, 15 October 2016
Scarlets v Sale Sharks 28 | 11
Connacht v Toulouse 23 | 21
Northampton Saints v Montpellier 16 | 14
Blue Bulls v Western Province 36 | 30
Toulon v Saracens 23 | 31
Leinster v Castres 33 | 15
Free State Cheetahs v Golden Lions 55 | 17
Wasps v Zebre 82 | 14
Fri, 14 October 2016
Glasgow Warriors v Leicester Tigers 42 | 13
Sun, 09 October 2016
Saracens v Wasps 30 | 14
Sat, 08 October 2016
Scarlets v Dragons 31 | 27
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 10 0 5 43
Waratahs 15 8 0 7 40
Rebels 15 7 0 8 31
Reds 15 3 1 11 17
Force 15 2 0 13 13
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 15 11 0 4 53
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 52
Chiefs 15 11 0 4 51
Crusaders 15 11 0 4 50
Blues 15 8 1 6 39
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 1 4 51
Bulls 15 9 1 5 42
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Sunwolves 15 1 1 13 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 14 11 0 3 52
Sharks 15 9 1 5 43
Jaguares 14 3 0 11 18
Kings 15 2 0 13 9