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McCalman praises strength of backs
Ben McCalman hard at work during Force training. Pic: Nic Ellis

It is an unspoken rule of rugby union that forwards should not talk up their back-line teammates.

Ask any forward and they will tell you in no uncertain terms that they win matches: backs simply decide by how much.

So when a Western Force forward starts heaping praise on backs it might be a sign that times are changing at the Super Rugby club.

Back-rower Ben McCalman said there was a lot of confidence flowing between the backs and forwards at training.

"The balance between the backs and the forwards is good," McCalman said.

He said the last few games of the 2013 season were some of the best he had played with the backs at the Force.

"The mixture really started to gel," he said.

He was happy to drop a few backs into conversation - fellow Wallaby Nick Cummins, speedster Luke Morahan who has moved from the Queensland Reds and halves pairing Ian Prior and Zack Holmes from the Brumbies.

But he was quick to get back on to forwards talk and especially the back row.

"Back row has always been a strength," he said.

"Every year it has always been undecided who is going to play 6, 7, or 8. Chris Alcock is challenging for the 7 jersey, we saw last year how well he performed. Matt Hodgson is there as well.

"Gus Cottrell had a great year and (South African recruit) Brynard Stander is here now.

"There are a lot of ball carriers but we'll also be pretty hard on the ball with Hodgo and Chris (Alcock)."

McCalman has returned to training following the Wallabies spring tour injury free.