Western Force name Extended Playing Squad


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Perth based Super Rugby franchise the Western Force have included local products Ross Haylett-Petty (No.8) and Brad Lacey (wing) as two of five Extended Playing Squad (EPS) contracted players in its squad for the club’s 10th Super Rugby season in 2015.

The Australian Under 20 and Perth Spirit teammates, both 20, will join hooker Robbie Abel and scrumhalf Ryan Louwrens, who were each a part of the Western Force squad in 2014, and prop Francois van Wyk, who graduates from the Wider Training Squad into the senior squad after playing two matches for the Force during 2014.

Haylett-Petty, younger brother of Western Force fullback Dane Haylett-Petty, started in all five matches for Australia at this year’s IRB Junior World Championship in New Zealand, crossing for one try in the 29-3 win over Italy.

The mobile Cottesloe back-rower, who represented the 2010 and 2011 Western Australia Schoolboys, says he’s excited about stepping up into the professional program.

“It’s very exciting to be joining the squad and it’s something I’ve been working hard towards for a while,” he said.

“While it’s a good starting point, I know I’m now starting at the bottom again. I’m ready to work my way up; this is where the hard work begins again and has to be taken to the next level to achieve the next goal of playing Super Rugby.”

Lacey earns his promotion after two seasons as part of the Force’s Wider Training Group.

The Wests Scarborough winger represented Australia at his second IRB Junior World Championship this year, recording three tries in his five appearances.

Lacey, who was a member of the 2011 WA Schoolboys squad, says he’s looking forward to fulfilling a boyhood dream.

“It’s been my goal to play for the Force ever since I was a part of the National Talent Squad when I was 14,” he said. “Being able to progress the next step into the squad now is really exciting.

“I’ve spent the past two years training with the squad and I’ve already learned a lot from these guys, especially someone like Dane [Haylett-Petty], who’s continually provided me with feedback and pushed me.

“What I’ve enjoyed about being a part of the squad is there’s no one who thinks he’s a superstar ” we all want to work for each other and I’m really looking forward to working hard to experience that on field as well.”

Head Coach Michael Foley says the five players will be pushing for places in the Western Force’s 23-man match squad next year.

“In addition to wanting to retain the core group of players from this season, it was important that we rewarded a number of younger players ” like Brad and Ross ” who have earned their places within the squad through their performances on and off the field during 2014,” he said.

“We’re very pleased to have Robbie and Ryan with us again, and to welcome Brad, Ross and Francois into our 35 man squad for 2015.”

Name: Robbie Abel

Born: 04/07/1989, Orange, NSW
Position: Hooker
Club: Cottesloe
Height: 183cm
Weight: 108kg
Representative Rugby: 2014 Western Force, 2014 Perth Spirit, 2013 North Harbour (ITM Cup), 2008 Australian Schoolboys

Name: Ross Haylett-Petty
Born: 10/01/1994, Durban (South Africa)
Position: No.8
Club: Cottesloe
Height: 197cm
Weight: 110kg
Representative Rugby: 2014 Perth Spirit, 2014 Australian Under 20

Name: Brad Lacey
Born: 11/04/1994, Durban (South Africa)
Position: Wing
Club: Wests Scarborough
Height: 186cm
Weight: 92kg
Representative Rugby: 2014 Perth Spirit, 2013-2014 Australian Under 20

Name: Ryan Louwrens
Born: 12/03/1991, Johannesburg (South Africa)
Position: Scrumhalf
Club: Cottesloe
Height: 179cm
Weight: 93kg
Representative Rugby: 2012 Force A, 2009 Valke Under 19

Name: Francois van Wyk
Born: 30/07/1991, Belville (South Africa)
Position: Prop
Club: UWA
Height: 189cm
Weight: 114kg
Super Rugby caps: 2
Super Rugby points: 0
Super Rugby debut: 2014 v Lions, Perth
Representative Rugby: 2014 Western Force, 2013 Western Province, 2011-2012 UCT Ikey Tigers

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