The West

Mickey Arthur joins Force s South African safari
Mickey Arthur is getting involved with the Western Force. Picture: Getty Images

Former South Africa, WA and Australia cricket coach Mickey Arthur is turning his attention to rugby - he is to head up a new Western Force program targeting young South African talent.

The pioneering program is a follow-on from the aggressive recruitment drive launched in South Africa this season by the Super Rugby club after the Australian Rugby Union relaxed the rules over foreign players for the Force.

Details of the new Future Force academy will be released on Friday but as expected Arthur will hold a mentoring role overseeing the new academy and will not be involved in a hands-on coaching role.

It is a big step into the unknown for the Force who will need binding contracts on the new players or risk losing them back to South Africa after putting in the coaching time.

The plan was given the thumbs up by the Australian Rugby Union and other Australian Super Rugby clubs are aware of the scheme.

It also comes after coach Michael Foley and chief executive Mark Sinderberry said they would not pay over the odds for east coast Australian talent.

The Force already have a distinct South African flavour with former emerging Springbok, second-rower Wilhelm Steenkamp, being one of two marquee players. The other is former All Blacks scrum-half Alby Mathewson.

Fly-half Sias Ebersohn signed last year as an emerging player. Emerging players have to become available for the Wallabies.

Other South African players to have signed include Marcel Brache, Chris Heiberg, Brynard Stander, Dillyn Leeds, Dylan Sage and Francois van Wyk.

Foley also has two South African assistant coaches, Dave Wessels and Kevin Foote.

The West Australian

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