Alcock welcomes competition
With three Wallaby players in the mix and two young guns ready to take every opportunity, new recruit Chris Alcock is prepared for some stiff competition in the Western Force back row this season.
But rather than be perturbed by the task ahead, Alcock made the decision to move across the country to be a part of head coach Michael Foley’s plan of boasting the best back-row in Super Rugby.
The South African-born openside flanker played soccer as a child but took up rugby when after moving to Australia with his family at the age of 10. From there he moved up the ranks in the Shute Shield competition before joining the Waratahs for the 2010 Super Rugby season.
Alcock played under Foley at the Waratahs for two years, where he amassed 25 caps before being offered the opportunity to follow his mentor to Perth. The decision to move was an easy one and he is hungry to get on the field and be a part of the relaunch of the side.
“I spoke to Foles [Foley] before coming over here and one of the things he said was the Force has one of the best back rows in the competition so to be a part of that in any way, shape or form is a big achievement so what I’m trying to do is just get involved,” Alcock told the Western Force website.
“I’ve really enjoyed the move to Perth, there’s a really good bunch of guys and it’s been a good pre-season and I’m really looking forward to the season ahead.”
Foley praised the flanker’s efforts in the pre-season and said he was working hard to be successful in a team that was reaching the high standards asked of them.
“I think the difference in Chris’ pre-season has been significant and particularly around some of the results he’s achieved in his fitness testing,” Foley said.
“He’s been snookered in a lot of sessions behind our captain Matt Hodgson but he hasn’t been deterred by that. Every session he’s come and he’s competed particularly hard and he is adding something to the team.
“Having guys like Brown, McMeniman and McCalman and young very promising players like Cottrell and McCaffrey, it is extremely competitive and Chris has done well to compete with those guys and I believe Chris will challenge for the 15, if not the 22 every game.”
Alcock said he is enjoying working under Foley again and commended his different approach to coaching.
“It is quite a different atmosphere, he’s got very good support staff around him at the moment,” he said.
“Pre-season training has been very physical with a strong emphasis on fitness which is probably one of the major things for me so I’m really looking forward to getting out on the field and putting that work into action.
“I’m expecting a real good year. We are definitely going to be in and amongst it with every game we play and hopefully the results will go our way.”
Alcock is ready to make his case for a regular spot in the 22 when the Western Force take on the Brumbies in Darwin on February 1 and Tonga Select XV on February 8 in the club’s trial matches.