Young gun joins Force
SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: Perth-born Harry Scoble has concluded the Western Force squad after becoming the latest rising star to join Super Rugby franchise for the 2017 season.
The young rake is the second Future Force Foundation member to sign with the franchise in the past month after Richard Hardwick also committed to the senior side for next season.
The recently turned 22-year-old the hooker has had a meteoric rise this year, heading into his third year in the Future Force program and playing for UWA in the Pindan Premier Grade, before being thrust into the Force squad, scoring a try in his Super Rugby debut against the Waratahs in Round Nine and adding a further seven caps to his name.
The former Australia Under-20 representative reflects on this year as a dream come true but says he still has a lot of work ahead of him.
"I’m just really happy to be elevated to the senior list and to have the opportunity to train and play with these guys," he said. "It’s going to be a tough pre-season for us and there will be plenty of competition for positions come Round One next year, but it’s a challenge I’m really looking forward to,"
Scoble says the form that the Perth Spirit showed in this years’ National Rugby Championship is definitely positive signs for the team and provides confidence for the team heading into a long pre-season.
"In what was a really successful season for the [Perth] Spirit, we really want to keep that rolling into pre-season and then into the Super Rugby season next year," he added.
With new head coach Dave Wessels at the helm, Scoble says he is looking forward to working with him and believes he is the right man for the job.
"Dave [Wessels] has been really excellent so far and we as a playing group think he has the right strategies in place to take this team forward,"
Wessels says that Scoble’s progression has been exciting to watch and is thrilled to see him elevated to the senior squad.
"It’s a great wrap for our Future Force Program and also club rugby within Western Australia," he said. "We’re starting to see the fruits of a lot of people’s hard work with a number of players starting to come through.
"As you know Harry ended up playing half the season for the Force this year, he was thrown in the deep end, but he took the opportunity and really proved that he’s a Super Rugby quality player.
"I think his game grew and he really grew as a person in that time, so we’re very fortunate to have him for another year,"
With the likes Heath Tessmann, Pek Cowan and now Tatafu Polota-Nau in the squad, Wessels says that Harry has a great opportunity to not only learn from these players but also to challenge them.
"I think ‘Tess’ in particular demands pretty high standards of the guys and it’s a good lesson for a young hooker to play in behind someone like that. ‘Rusty’ should come into this year fully expecting to be the starting hooker.
"What we want from every player in this squad is to put their best foot forward and want to be in the starting jersey, and I think competition like that is good for everybody,"
Meanwhile, the Western Force have confirmed their 36-man squad for the 2017 Super Rugby season.
In addition to the promotion of local talent to the senior group the return of local products, Curtis Rona and Chance Peni from rugby league takes the Western Australian contingent of the squad to ten players, up from eight at the beginning of 2016.
There will be no shortage of international experience with the Force squad boasting eight capped Wallabies including Tatafu Polota-Nau, Adam Coleman, Luke Morahan, Ben McCalman, Ben Daley, Matt Hodgson, Pek Cowan and Wallabies Rookie of the Year, Dane Haylett-Petty.
Wessels says the franchise is incredibly happy with the squad assembled for the 2017 Super Rugby season.
"We have a great mix of youth and experience within the group,” he said. The young players in the squad will bring great energy and push the senior players very hard for their spots.
"I think the key thing is that we have substantial experience in our tight-five – over 500 Super Rugby caps in that area of our team alone and those players will lay the platform for the firepower we have in our backs,"
Western Force attack coach Shaun Berne says he is excited by the squad that has been assembled and the competition for places within the group.
"I think the squad has probably got more depth then there might have been in the past. Each position has some serious competition with a number of guys eyeing off the starting positions.
"We have some high-quality guys coming into the group and that will put the pressure on players to maintain their positions in the starting team, I think that healthy competition is a huge positive for us as a team," he added.
Western Force Squad:
Forwards: Jermaine Ainsley, Richard Arnold, Adam Coleman, Angus Cottrell, Pek Cowan, Ben Daley, Tetera Faulkner, Richard Hardwick, Ross Haylett-Petty, Matt Hodgson, Kane Koteka, Ben Matwijow, Ben McCalman, Isi Naisarani, Matt Philip, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Anaru Rangi, Harry Scoble, Brynard Stander, Heath Tessmann, Francios van Wyk, Shambeckler Vui
Backs: Marcel Brache, Luke Burton, Robbie Coleman, Peter Grant, Dane Haylett-Petty, Jono Lance, Ryan Louwrens, Semisi Masirewa, Bill Meakes, Luke Morahan, Chance Peni, Ian Prior, Curtis Rona, Michael Ruru