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Sheehan gears up for biggest fight back
Force’s Brett Sheehan fields questions from reporters on his injury while teammates train yesterday. Picture: Michael O’Brien /WA News

There is nothing Western Force scrum-half Brett Sheehan likes more than a good fight.

Maybe not literally, although he has never been one to back down from a confrontation.

But he now faces two big battles - the race to be fit for the Super Rugby season and the scrap to get his No.9 jumper back from marquee signing and former All Black Alby Mathewson.

Sheehan had the bittersweet experience of his run-on Wallabies debut against Italy in Florence last year end with a broken ankle after 32 minutes.

That small taste of international rugby reignited the 33-year-old's passion for the game and he has not lost hope of a shot against the British and Irish Lions, who open their Australian tour against the Force in June.

First, he has to get back to full fitness. He sheds the cast next week and is aiming for a round-five comeback against the Queensland Reds in Brisbane.

"I can't see why it can't happen … it's looking good," he said.

But to do that Sheehan knows he has to get ahead of Mathewson and perhaps extended squad member Mick Snowden, who signed from Shute Shield side Eastwood this year.

"Alby's a world-class No.9, he's a great player, and Snowy's doing a great job learning the system," Sheehan said.

"It spurs you on, wants to make you play harder, train harder.

"Being a bit older and a bit longer in the tooth these days, it makes me want to set some new goals and get a spot in the team.

"It's going to be hard. Alby's brilliant and Snowy's stepping up. It's a challenge, but I like challenges.

"One thing is you don't ever give up. We've never given up here at this club. There's been a few hard years, but if we go in with the same mentality of never giving up and always playing your best and trying to do your best, it's going to have ramifications on the field as a team.

"If we can have that never-say-die attitude here then we'll be in good stead."

Sheehan was considering an overseas contract at the end of last season, his third at the Force, until the WA club came up with a one-year offer.

And then came his Wallabies call-up.

"It was great to come out of the wilderness and get another start," Sheehan said.

"It was unfortunate that the injury happened, but it has given me the desire to get back and get fit and get on the field and who knows, maybe get a Lions start.

"Obviously it (debut) was one of the highs of my career and after 32 minutes it was one of the lowest points. That's rugby.

"It was an awesome experience to get that start for Australia.

"Now I've got to get back, work hard, try and get back on the field as soon as possible."