THREE young players from Kalamunda Districts Rugby Union Club have been selected to play for the Western Force in the upcoming Super Rugby Men’s U19 and U16 competition.
Newcomer James Blair (19) will be in the U19 playing alongside long-time Kalamunda Bulls club member Dane Sawers (19), who has been chosen as co-captain for the competition, while 15-year-old Dozion Laupama has been named for the U16 team.
The squads, made up of players drawn from both WA clubs and school rugby, began training two months ago in preparation for the five-team interstate competition which starts this Saturday and runs to November 5.
The first of the four rounds will be held at Revo Fitness Stadium in Claremont where the Western Force U16 and U19 will take on the Melbourne Rebels.
Back rower Dane Sawers has been with the club since he started playing more than a decade ago, while James Blair is a relatively new addition to the club. Originally from Scotland, Blair arrived in Perth and joined the Bulls this year and according to the club’s president quickly stood out as a player.
The Kalamunda Districts Rugby Union Club president Barry Jordan said having the trio selected for the Western Force teams shows the club is doing something right.
“It’s pretty good for us, we didn’t have an U18 team this year. Dane and James played premier grade this season because we didn’t have enough to have colts’ teams, so considering that I think we’ve done pretty well,” he said.
“We’re managing to get a few through, we would like to get a few more. We had a couple of years gap in our juniors but that’s closing out now… and hopefully you’ll see more coming through in the next few years.”
A key example of the club’s promising future is Dozion Laupama, the 15-year-old Kalamunda player selected for the Force’s U16 teams.
The club’s junior president Sarah RangiWai said Laupama has always been a standout due to his work ethic.
“He’s a dedicated player who trains at home every day of the week, doing extra fitness, extra training, and he’s just a really hard worker,” Ms RangiWai said.
The second round of matches will see the Western Force fly to Queensland and face off against the Reds on Sunday, October 8.
The following week is a bye round, after which the Force will be back at Claremont for round four on Saturday, October 21 in a match with the Brumbies.
The Waratahs will be the last scheduled game for the Force on October 29 at Forshaw Rugby Park in NSW.
The top two teams of the competition go head-to-head in the grand final on November 5, with the venue and times to be confirmed.