The Western Force is pleased to announce its playing squad for the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific season.
As the competition enters an exciting new era with two new franchises taking part in the shape of Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika, the Force is determined to build on last season, its best ever in Super Rugby.
It was another productive off-season for head coach Tim Sampson and general manager of rugby Matt Hodgson, with new internationals, junior representative players and promising young talent recruited by the Force duo.
Towering Wallabies lock Izack Rodda signed on in March from Lyon. The former Queensland Reds forward brings a wealth of experience with over 30 Test caps and 46 Super Rugby appearances to his name.
Mercurial Fijian international Manasa Mataele was the second new face to join the club, with the 24-year-old former Crusader winger poised to play his best rugby in the west after signing a two-year deal.
Attention then turned to retaining some of Australia’s brightest young prospects, as Jake Strachan, Grason Makara and Jackson Pugh all re-signed.
Harry Lloyd re-joined the Force from the ACT Brumbies, with the 26-year-old prop thrilled to be back after seeing the rapid ascent from afar in the past few seasons.
The Force also welcomes back fan-favourite Issak Fines-Leleiwasa. The skilful scrum-half returns to the club alongside homegrown fly-half Reesjan Pasitoa, inside back Bayley Kuenzle and outside flyer Reece Tapine from the Brumbies.
More speed and youthful energy has been added to the backline, with Australian Schoolboy Daniel Ala making the code switch from NRL side Manly Sea Eagles.
Sampson believes the balance of experience and youth holds the club in a strong position.
“We’re very comfortable with the squad we’ve assembled for the 2022 season. After a historic campaign in 2021, it was important to build on those foundations and we’re confident this group is ready to take the next step in 2022,” Sampson explained.
Hodgson noted the retention of local talent was just as crucial as recruitment of new players.
“We have a very promising group of homegrown Western Australian players that have shown fantastic progress over the last couple of years, and they will only improve alongside the new faces at the club,” Hodgson said. “One of our major focuses as a club is developing young talent from within WA and Australia to become stars for the Force and eventually on the international stage with the Wallabies. We can’t wait for them to grab their Super Rugby opportunities with both hands during the upcoming campaign.”