Force get one over Super Rugby rivals, Brumbies recruitment strategy under focus


The Western Force have landed a blow on their Australian rivals the Brumbies, luring Test second-rower Darcy Swain away from the nation’s capital.

The 26-year-old, who wore the captain’s armband earlier in the season in the absence of Allan Alaalatoa and Ryan Lonergan, had been weighing up a move to the Force for months.

After a prolonged negotiation with the Force over his price, Simon Cron’s men finally landed the lock.

His signature is a good one for the Force.

Wallabies second-rower Darcy Swain will move to the Western Force at season’s end. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

After struggling in the tight-five in recent years, which saw Cron turn overseas to players like New Zealander Tom Franklin, the arrival of Swain will give the Force a harder edger up front and at the maul. It will also give them a distinctly Australian feel in the second-row, too.

What it means for Izack Rodda’s retention remains to be seen, but at least the second-rower is playing regularly now after two years of frustration as the 2019 World Cup starter battled foot injuries.

With first-year skipper Jeremy Williams a player on the rise, the Force are finally starting to build the foundations up front to go along with the shiny toys out wide.

Swain said he was pleased to stay in Australian rugby for another two years ahead of the game’s most important period in its history.

“Firstly, I’d like to thank the Brumbies for giving me my first opportunity to fulfill my dream to become a professional rugby player and for their support since arriving in Canberra in 2016,” Swain said in a statement.

“It was a tough decision to move on and I’ll be putting my full focus into making this season a successful one.

“The opportunity to go to the Western Force from next year is something I’m really looking forward to and from early discussions with Simon will be a perfect environment to continue to grow as a player on the field and as a person off the field.

“There’s some really special events coming up in Australian rugby and I’ll be doing everything I can to be part of them.”

Rugby Australia director of high performance Peter Horne added: “It’s pleasing to be able to re-sign Darcy for two more years.

“He’s a player who is driven to improve and continue to contribute to Australian rugby and has also shown his leadership qualities in recent times with the Brumbies.”

The move puts the pressure on Stephen Larkham recruitment and retention plans.

Darcy Swain capped the Brumbies earlier in the year but the 26-year-old has decided to leave the Brumbies. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

After Dan McKellar worked hard to build the best tight-five in Australia, piece by piece the Brumbies are being chipped away up front.

Indeed, the pressure was being felt over the weekend during their 28-20 win over the Drua, with the Fijians dominating the contact zone and the scrum.

With James Slipper, 34, and Cadeyrn Neville, 35, not getting any younger either, it’s clear where the Brumbies must focus going forward.

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