Historic Western Force Super Rugby AU finals appearance a ‘reward for hard work’, says captain Ian Prior

The Super Rugby AU season has delivered plenty for rugby fans in Australia this year, but its crowning glory came last weekend, with the Western Force qualifying for their maiden finals series 16 years since first entering professional rugby.

Those 16 seasons have been far from smooth, though, and the Force’s short history is the proverbial rollercoaster of highs and lows.

They joined what became the Super 14 competition in 2006, endured the scandal of covert payments and broken promises amid the Firepower saga, came close to reaching the playoffs on several occasions, and were unceremoniously dumped from Super Rugby by the Australian Rugby Union at the end of the 2017 season.

They then tried to create their own competition with the…

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