The Western Force has locked away two of its outstanding up-and-coming forwards with the re-signing of young guns Adam Coleman and Oliver Hoskins for a further two years.
Both players have been regulars in the Force’s match day squad in 2014, with Perth-born front-rower Hoskins, 21, featuring on the bench in each of the club’s nine matches, while Coleman (lock), 22, returned from a wrist injury early in the season to force his way into the starting line-up.
Western Force Head Coach Michael Foley says securing players such as Hoskins and Coleman is integral to the long-term success of the club.
“I am very pleased to have Ollie and Adam continue with the club for the next two seasons,” he said.
“Ollie began this season as part of our Wider Training Squad and forced his way into the match day 23 as a result of an exceptional work ethic. Having grown up in Perth, he is a great example to all local players who aspire to play for the Force.
“Similarly, Adam has shown good development since joining the club at the beginning of pre-season. While at 204cm and 120kg Adam has all the physical attributes to develop into a Super Rugby lock, it’s the attitude he brings to the contest that has seen him attain a position in the match 23.”
“Aside from their undoubted potential, both players have a great attitude to continually learn and be respected amongst their peers.”
Originally hailing from Tasmania, Adam Coleman initially joined the Western Force as a member of its Wider Training Squad for the 2013 pre-season.
He later made his Asteron Life Super Rugby debut as injury cover for the NSW Waratahs for one match against the Force during the 2013 season, but returned to the Western Australian club on an Extended Playing Squad contract for 2014.
The towering tight forward has played seven matches for the Force in 2014, starting in the second row in the past two games against the Rebels and Bulls.
The former Tasmanian Under 14, 16 and 18, and Combined States Under 18 representative boasts a strong rugby pedigree with his father, Pau’u Afeaki, and first cousin, Inoke Afeaki, both having captained Tonga; while former Wallaby prop Rodney Blake and current Chiefs and All Black front-rower Ben Afeaki are also first cousins.
“I’ve loved my time with the Force,” he said. “It’s been a very easy environment to come into and, while I’ve still got a lot to learn, I feel like it’s the best place to develop my rugby. There’s a family feel about the club and there’s a real tightness and trust amongst the playing group on and off the field.
“I feel like my game’s already developed a lot this year. I feel like I’ve made a lot of gains physically, and I’ve learned a lot from the experienced guys like Wykesy [Sam Wykes], Hugh McMeniman and Wilhelm Steenkamp, and Foles [Foley] has been really great in the direction he’s given me.”
Perth-born Oliver Hoskins has progressed through the Western Force player pathway having represented Western Australia at age-group level and been a member of the RugbyWA Academy for six years.
The Cottesloe tighthead prop represented the Australia Under 20 squad at the 2012 IRB Junior World Championship in South Africa and the 2013 tournament in France.
The Scotch College graduate was included in the club’s Wider Training Squad for 2014 but was selected to make his Asteron Life Super Rugby debut in the Western Force’s opening match of the 2014 season against the NSW Waratahs in Sydney.
Hoskins, who is one of nine Perth-produced players in the Western Force squad, says he’s excited about continuing his Asteron Life Super Rugby career in Western Australia.
“While there was interest from elsewhere, I’ve grown up loving the Force,” he said. “Since we got this team, I’ve grown up watching the Force. I was a member and went to all the home matches, I was part of the Academy – this is where I’ve grown up and this is where I’ve always wanted to play.
“Foles, the coaches and the senior players have created a great culture that when you’re a part of it, it’s hard to see yourself going anywhere else. Everyone here is working towards a common goal and it’s a humbling place to be. There are no egos, everyone’s on a level playing field and everyone wants to work hard for each other.
“Last year I was playing about 10 kilograms heavier than I am now. I got up to about 130 kilos and Foles asked whether I thought I was most effective at that weight. During the off-season I worked with [strength & conditioning coaches] Charlie Higgins and Brendyn Appleby to get myself in as good a shape as possible. I became the fittest I’ve ever been, I was getting around the park a lot more efficiently and – thanks to Charlie and Brendyn – was able to keep my strength up even though I was losing weight, to be as prepared as I could for when an opportunity arose.
“While I understand I’ve still got a long way to go, I’ve loved every second of my opportunities in Super Rugby this season; it’s fast-paced and in your face but it’s been awesome.”
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