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Force on lookout for more top guns
Force on lookout for more top guns

Western Force director of coaching Michael Foley has at least two vacancies to fill as he builds for the 2013 Super Rugby season.

The squad is evenly split with 14 forwards and 14 backs but there is a possibility more spots could become available.

Foley already has five back- rowers but is looking for a mobile second-rower who can also fill the No.6 role and impose himself physically on a game.

Two likely candidates are former Wallaby and Queensland Red Hugh McMeniman and former Reds, Brumbies and Wallaby tourist Mitchell Chapman. But both are contracted to Japanese clubs and are unlikely to be available until February.

Foley is committed to developing players for the long term and Sydney University second-rower Ollie Atkins, who was called up for the Force's final three games last season, is on the radar.

Foley also needs a new midfield strike weapon to help spark the back line outside new signings, halves Sias Ebershon and Alby Mathewson.

"My focus is on getting the right people together," he said. "It is important for me to consider local talent then look nationally and where possible internationally.

"Development has to be a focus, but we have to balance it with experience.

"There are a number of club guys who are impressing, but we need senior guys around them."

One of the current openings has been created because young scrum-half Justin Turner is already ruled out of next season. He re-injured his right knee playing for Eastwood in the Shute Shield and faces the third major operation on the knee in three years.

Foley is hopeful of keeping local product Turner in the Force program.

"He is a young guy with heaps of promise. We want to make sure we get him on his feet," he said.

Foley is close to finalising his coaching team, after former Force foundation coach John Mulvihill turned down an offer to work under him.

Meanwhile, Force winger Nick Cummins is in line for his Wallabies debut in front of his home crowd at Patersons Stadium in next Saturday's Rugby Championship clash against South Africa.

Cummins and Reds winger Dom Shipperley will challenge for the spot left open by the Waratahs Drew Mitchell who is injured.