Force could play rivals in Perth this year

Australia's new domestic rugby competition is set to launch on July 3 and there's a chance Western Force could host some games in Perth.

ANDREW FORREST.
ANDREW FORREST. Picture: Paul Kane/Getty Images

Western Force coach Tim Sampson hopes his team will be playing in Perth by late July, but he needs the WA government to come to the party.

The full draw of Australia's new domestic rugby competition was released on Thursday, with the Force to begin their campaign in round two against the Waratahs in Sydney on July 11.

It was initially thought the Force would have to play all eight of their regular-season games in the eastern states due to WA's tough border-closure stance.

But Rugby Australia hopes a deal can be done where the Force can host at least some - and possibly all - of their home games at HBF Park in Perth.

For that to happen, WA would need to relax their mandatory 14-day quarantine period for sporting teams coming into the State.

The Force have been tentatively scheduled to play in Perth in round five (Rebels), seven (Waratahs) and eight (Reds).

Their round-four match against the Brumbies on July 25 could also be played in Perth, given the Force has been slated as the home team and no venue has yet been allocated.

"It's out of our hands, but it would be nice to get back-to-back home games. Four in a row would be great here in Perth," Sampson said.

The Force were booted out of Super Rugby in 2017, but billionaire mining magnate Andrew Forrest saved them from extinction by launching Global Rapid Rugby.

The 2020 GRR season was cancelled after just one round due to the coronavirus pandemic, opening the door for the Force to join their Australian rivals in a new domestic competition.

The Force will start as rank underdogs given their lack of Super Rugby experience.

But Sampson is confident his team will be competitive, and he expects the Force to make some player signings over the coming week.

He said the new competition would also give fledgling Force players the chance to audition for Wallabies selection.

Force captain Ian Prior said the squad was bracing themselves for a tough competition.

"I think like all those Aussie derbies they will be pretty brutal, very competitive," Prior said.

"It will be good fun to be back out there."


AAP