Western Force fans will no doubt be welcoming the news that the club has secured the services of Sias Ebersohn from the Cheetahs to play at fly half for the next two seasons. They will also be keeping their fingers crossed that he makes it onto the park something compatriat Andre Pretorius was unable to do in a Super Rugby fixture. The number ten shirt at The Emirates Western Force has not been one that has been filled effectively since the clubs inception, for all manner of reasons.
It is interesting that such an announcement was made this week, almost a week to the day that former coach John Mitchell, while in Perth with his Lions side stated he felt that the Australian franchises should be allowed to employ more foreign players.
There are many who applaud such a move believing that there are two benefits from such a move. It would help raise the profile and the standard of the Australian Super 15 Franchises, and at the same time young Australian players would benefit from playing alongside some of the best players in the World.
The one word of warning that we would issue is there should be a criteria that the incoming players should be required to meet. Australian rugby simply needs to take a look at what has happened with some of the imports who have made the journey to Australia to play in the Hyundai A League. Regrettably the the A league has witnessed far too many players whose careers are well and truly over in Europe heading down under in order to prolong their careers. One thing that some players in the A league have looked at is to come and play in Australia in a league with one game a week because physically they could no longer manage the glut of games in Europe; there is no way that this would be an issue in Super Rugby, as you would have to be in peak condition in order to make it through the season.
Ebersohn is a good recruit for the Force, and the Australian game could benefit from more of his ilk. It would also benefit from a second tier competition being resurrected, but we will leave that discussion to another day.