Polota-Nau pleads for Force’s Super future

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    Wallabies hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau has made a passionate plea for the ARU to keep the Western Force alive, saying rugby is thriving in Western Australia and has the potential to become a future gold mine.

    Either the Force or Melbourne Rebels will be axed from the Super Rugby competition before next season after the ARU agreed to cull one of the Australian franchises.

    The Force have struggled to make an impact on the field since their inception in 2006.

    But rugby at grassroots level has grown significantly in WA over that period, and the Force are starting to reap the benefits.

    The Force squad now boasts nine West Australians, including star Wallaby Dane Haylett-Petty.

    The squad also has a further three players who were brought up elsewhere but made it to the senior side by progressing through WA’s rugby ranks.

    Polota-Nau only joined the Force at the end of last season, but he’s been blown away by the strength of rugby in WA.

    “You actually need WA for the game to grow,” Polota-Nau told AAP.

    “I’m just proud of what they’ve done – especially in the community – to grow the game over here.

    “To be honest, it’s up there with the club competitions of both NSW and Queensland.

    “The proof is in the pudding when nine of our squad members are locally born and already cracking into the starting 15.”

    Polota-Nau has enjoyed a standout season with the Force, and he would love to re-sign with the Perth-based franchise beyond this year.

    But until a decision is made on the Force’s future, Polota-Nau is unable to put pen to paper.

    Polota-Nau spent 11 seasons at the Waratahs before shifting to the Force.

    He’s kept a close eye on his former club – particularly the situation where frustrated Waratahs fans have started booing their own players.

    Polota-Nau said it was a completely different story at Force home games.

    “Over here, the rugby community is really behind the Force,” Polota-Nau said.

    “Playing games at the Forcefield – the fans are there until the very last minute. It’s unbelievable.

    “Compare that to what’s going on with my old club the Waratahs – how much of a crisis it’s in in terms of their members.

    “It’s something you can’t buy – the loyalty the fans have over here.”

    The Force’s finals hopes were given a massive boost last weekend when they notched a shock 16-6 win over the Jaguares in Argentina.

    With four of their final five games at home, the Force have the chance to top the Australian conference.

    But their progress will be put to the test on Saturday night when they host a Highlanders outfit riding a seven-match winning run.

    FORCE’S WA PLAYERS
    Dane Haylett-Petty
    Ross Haylett-Petty
    Luke Burton
    Harry Scoble
    Kane Koteka
    Richard Hardwick
    Chance Peni
    Curtis Rona
    Ryan Louwrens

    OUTSIDE PLAYERS WHO PROGRESSED VIA THE LOCAL WA RUGBY SYSTEM
    Jermaine Ainsley
    Anaru Rangi
    Michael Ruru

    © AAP 2017

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