Force press Pocock, Shepherd on futures - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Force press Pocock, Shepherd on futures

By Tim Clarke 26/03/2008 09:57:40 PM Comments (0)

Western Force bosses have urged Wallaby fullback Cameron Shepherd and rising star David Pocock to make up their minds about their plans for next season.

Both Shepherd and Pocock are weighing up alternative offers from the Brumbies and Reds respectively, with the end of this week the deadline set down for the pair to decide their Super rugby futures.

And while two other Force players, a back and a forward, will announce contract extensions with the franchise on Thursday, acting CEO Mitch Hardy said he was anxiously waiting for the international back and promising back rower to reveal their intentions.

"(With Cameron) it is between us and the Brumbies, but I would like to think he is staying with us here in Perth," Hardy said.

"I understand the ARU put their final offer for Cam and Dave, and I know Dave has been given a deadline of Friday to make his decision.

"Queensland are chasing him pretty hard, but at the end of the day they can only offer him what we can, and we would like to think we can offer him a little bit more by way of a successful team and a good rugby program.

"I am sitting tight on about half a dozen players and it starting to frustrate the hell out of me.

"But I don't think it is in either player's best interest to delay it much longer. The team is winning, and they are playing good rugby - they should be looking to commit to a long term deal while it is on the table."

Before leaving for New Zealand for the Force's recent tour, Shepherd spoke of his appreciation of Perth.

But with Brumbies fullback Julian Huxley shock diagnosis of a brain tumour, which appears to have ended his rugby career, another option in Canberra has opened up.

Pocock has been Queensland's No.1 target for months, with the teenager's bullish performances against the Crusaders and on tour in New Zealand prompting skipper Nathan Sharpe to nominate him as a future Wallaby.

Sharpe said if the Force's form continues, other squad members would be rewarded by Wallaby call-ups.

"I don't think anyone in this team is concerned with Wallaby stuff at the moment. We want to get to the semi-final and that is very clear," Sharpe said.

"You don't have to be a superhuman mind to understand the better your team goes, the better those chances are.

"It is something when the season is all done and dusted the guys who have performed well will be rewarded, but at the moment it is all about us as the Western Force."

The main change in the Force team to take on the Stormers on Friday will see Scott Daruda elevated into the midfield in place of Lachlan MacKay.

There is still no place in the 22 for David Pusey, with lock Tom Hockings again starting alongside Sharpe in the second row.

Scrumhalf Chris O'Young's shoulder injury has cleared up enough for him to regain his starting spot, while Scott Fava has also been recalled to the starting XV.

Western Force: Cameron Shepherd, Scott Staniforth, Ryan Cross, Scott Daruda, Drew Mitchell, Matt Giteau, Chris O'Young, Richard Brown, David Pocock, Scott Fava, Nathan Sharpe (capt), Tom Hockings, AJ Whalley, Tai McIsaac, Pek Cowan.

Res: Luke Holmes, Troy Takiari, Sam Wykes, Tamaiti Horua, James Stannard, Lachlan MacKay, Nick Cummins.

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