By Lee Stace

WE AT Rugby News received an interesting email from one of our loyal readers last week.

It was to do with the Western Force’s decision to sign Auckland midfielder Winston Stanley on a two-year deal.

The correspondent was amazed – and rightly so, I might add – that the Perth franchise continues to promote the signing of solid New Zealand provincial performers as major acquisitions.

“It’s amazing how the Western Force signs middle of the road New Zealand players and trumpets them in the Perth media as being global superstars when in fact they are the complete opposite,” he wrote.

“I’m sure other Super Rugby franchises will be shaking in their boots when these ‘big-name’ players turn out for the Western Australians,” he sarcastically added.

This reader has hit the nail on the head.

Like any team, the Force are always looking for ways to improve their game – it’s just a shame their recruitment policy doesn’t match their long-term vision.

Indeed, for every James O’Conner, who, sadly for them, has been lost to the Melbourne Rebels, and David Pocock there has been a Tim Fairbrother, Willie Ripia or, as will be the case next year, a Stanley and Toby Lynn on the payroll.

The aforementioned Kiwi players are good provincial toilers at best. Put them in a Super Rugby situation and they hardly fire a shot. Anyone who follows the New Zealand rugby scene closely will tell you that.

Yet that’s what the Force does and, as our reader rightly points out, wonders why they finish near the bottom of the table.

Irish province Connacht has become a destination for middle of the road New Zealand players (read: Rodney Ah You and Miah Nikora) in recent times and it seems the Force are following suit.

So much so that if you’re a New Zealander looking for a Super Rugby playing gig, drop Richard Graham a line. No doubt the coach will find a place for you in his team next year.

Posted Comments

Ross Allan
Fair comment but we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that during the early expansion when the Brumbies were added, I recall a lot of concern about the then depth of Australian rugby. And look what happened. It's best to cop a few hidings early on, as the price to pay to improve the depth of Australian rugby. But contracting overseas players is not the way to go. Bring through the juniors. As they say, no gain without pain
Paul Martin
So where do you fit David Smith who once he realised he had room to move was electrifying, so much he was Force player of the yesr for season 2011.
If the Force want to buy players that is their choice without some twit telling them. There is a shortage of quality players in Australia as Australia has no depth. this will be bourne out in the Tr Nations and the WC 2011. Alot of the Australain players are prima donnas and most show their arrogance which is typicial.They would have to be on a par with the South Africans and the Poms, blowhards when they beat second rate sides.
Perth Girl
The Force has a good track record of taking players rejected by over clubs and making them in Wallabies besides you don't expect every player in your team to be a Pocock or O'Connor
Stephen Yetman
It shows the lack of depth in Australian rugby when an Australian franchise feels it has to sign New Zealand players who haven’t exactly made it here. Fairbrother, Ripia and Stanley have all played age group rugby for New Zealand but none have kicked on at Super rugby. When the Force is using players of this calibre to replace players like James O’Connor they can’t be expected to improve. Given the amount of rugby and the inability of Australia’s franchises to attract adequate talent it really points to the fact that Australia should have fewer sides in Super rugby.
What ball is played with this sport soccer.
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