Depth driving Force to new heights

Wed, 23 Jan 2013 15:58
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Despite boasting the best combined set-piece in the competition in 2012, Force prop Pek Cowan believes there’s significant improvement left.

Despite the Western Force’s standing as the best combined set-piece in the competition in 2012, prop Pek Cowan believes there’s significant improvement left in the side’s forward pack this season.

Last year’s Super Rugby competition saw the emergence of Tetera Faulkner and Salesi Manu as additional powerhouses in the Western Force front row.

With a season under their belt, the young duo has already been putting pressure on their more experienced counterparts – Pek Cowan, Salesi Ma’afu and Kieran Longbottom.

And while Cowan may be one of the veterans of the group with 60 caps to his name, he concedes the race is on for positions leading into the first match against the Rebels.

“The biggest improvement is in our depth,” he said. “We’ve got guys hot on our heels for positions – Tetera Faulkner, Salesi Manu, Kieran Longbottom. We’ve got that depth and it’s really pleasing to see.

“If one guy were to drop out, we’d have someone just as capable to take that position. That’s across the board now and especially in our backs so we’re really looking good.”

Now into his eighth pre-season with the Western Force, the inaugural squad member says there has been a noticeable difference this season with a new squad under the guidance of a new coaching staff.

Cowan added that it’s not solely on the field that the differences have been noticed during the pre-season.

“The biggest thing is there’s a lot more accountability,” he said. “It’s upon the individual and the group to lead the standards here and it’s filtered through the main squad but into the academy as well. The standards that we set here are setting the standard moving forward.

“We’ve [also] learnt a lot – attack-wise especially. We’ve got great depth across the park and I think leading up to the next three weeks we’ve worked really hard on getting our structure right and I think we’re really looking good.

“Attack across the field has been great and with the depth we’ve now got it puts us in good stead leading into the trial games.

With the Western Force’s first trial match against the Brumbies in Darwin less than two weeks away, Cowan has noticed that things are heating up with the start of the Super Rugby season knocking on the door.

“It starts getting a lot more competitive definitely, especially in the forwards,” he said. “There’s a lot more depth and so there’s a lot more guys challenging for positions. With only two trials until we start the season, there’s not much time to impress.

“So whenever we have a scrum session, lineout session or contact session is a time to impress and it’s always pretty tough.”

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Sat, 27 August 2016
New Zealand v Australia 07h35 Wellington
EP Kings v Western Province 14h00 Port Elizabeth
Sharks v Blue Bulls 16h10 Durban
Argentina v South Africa 19h40 Salta
Fri, 02 September 2016
Boland v Pumas 13h00 Wellington
RESULT SCORE
Fri, 26 August 2016
Golden Lions v Boland 60 | 12
Sat, 20 August 2016
South Africa v Argentina 30 | 23
Golden Lions v Griquas 24 | 30
Australia v New Zealand 8 | 42
Fri, 19 August 2016
Blue Bulls v EP Kings 49 | 35
Western Province v Free State Cheetahs 25 | 32
Boland v Sharks 20 | 41
Sat, 13 August 2016
Free State Cheetahs v Blue Bulls 43 | 20
Golden Lions v Pumas 68 | 26
Fri, 12 August 2016
Sharks v Griquas 46 | 24
EP Kings v Boland 10 | 28
Sat, 06 August 2016
Boland v Free State Cheetahs 16 | 44
Hurricanes v Lions 20 | 3
Fri, 05 August 2016
Pumas v Sharks 10 | 33
Blue Bulls v Western Province 45 | 26
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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