HOW THE WEST HAS WON

CEO Tony Lewis might just be the smartest piece of recruitment in Western Force rugby history.

Tony Lewis - Western Force's Ambitous CEO

The former Otago rugby winger achieved amazing success in his seven year stint as CEO of the Tasman Rugby Union, the Mako rising to be the champions of New Zealand provincial rugby and now he’s taken over that role with the Western Force. He wants nothing less than to take them to the top.

That success with Tasman was based on building depth from within, setting up an academy to preparing young players for NPC and Super Rugby level. Top quality coaches was another reason for Tasman’s success and the development of other coaches so when the most successful coaching duo, former All Blacks Kieran Keane and Leon MacDonald moved on their replacements were ready to hit the ground running.

Lewis said he’s adopted similar strategies for the Western Force, setting up an academy developing coaches and players with the highly respected Simon Cron head coach for the 2023 season.

Lewis said his goal and the goal of the club is to be number one, Super rugby champions and one of the things they need to be able to achieve that goal is build depth, which he said is a significant reason why the champion Crusaders team is so successful.

The Sea Of Blue - passionate support in WA

While Australian teams have struggled to score wins over their New Zealand counterparts in Super rugby and the Wallabies have also struggled to beat the All Blacks, Lewis believes Australia have plenty of rugby talent but they need more rugby and a better development path to the top.

Women’s rugby is another big focus for the Western Force this year with the women’s squad being paid a significant amount as they look towards developing a section of rugby that should go from strength to strength on the back of a hugely popular and successful World Cup in New Zealand.

Major Focus On Women's Rugby

Mining magnates Andrew (Twiggy) Forrest and his wife Nicola are big financial backers of the Western Force, stepping in after they were controversially kicked out of super rugby in 2017. The Forrests financial contribution is significant but Lewis said you can’t just pour money at something you must have a plan and developing depth of playing talent is a top priority.

Andrew (Twiggy) Forrest A Driving Force In WA Rugby Succeed

Lewis has an emotional attachment to the west as in the mid 1980s he played for Western Australia after a career of over 40 matches on the wing for Otago during which he scored 25 tries.

The Sea of Blue - The Force will not be lacking support in 2023

As well as being a former CEO of Tasman, he served as general manager with the Randwick Rugby club in Sydney, coached professionally in the UK alongside former Irish and British Lions player and coach Sir Ian McGeechan and did a stint as high performance cricket manager for New South Wales Blues Cricket. 

Listen to my (John Alexander) interview with Tony Lewis in which he talks about his goals for the Western Force and the challenges they face.

Interview & Story by John Alexander | Supporting Images sourced by Absolutely Famous.

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