More signings for the Western Force
June 8, 2005

Four Australian Under 21s have agreed to join the Western Force for next year's Toohey's New Super 14 competition.

Queenslanders Scott Daruda, Digby Ioane and Tajhon Smallman-Mailata and New South Welshman Pek Cowan agreed to join the Western Force before flying out last Sunday to the IRB Under 21s World Championships in Argentina.

Waratahs winger Cameron Shepherd, who joined the Western Force last month, is also a member of the Australian Under 21s team which will play in Mendoza. aruda, Smallman-Mailata and Cowan were also members of the Australian Under 19s team that played at the IRB Under 19s World Championships in South Africa earlier this year. Daruda captained the team.

Flyhalf Scott Daruda made his Super 12 debut this year, playing for the Reds against the Chiefs. e's regarded as having great vision, exceptional tactical kicking and an ability to put players into gaps. aruda has joined the Western Force on a two year contract.

Prop Pek Cowan represented the Australian Schoolboys in 2003 and 2004, coming runner-up in the 2003 Sydney Morning Herald Schoolboy of the Year in 2003 and joint winner in 2004. he 105kg 19 year old played for the Australian Under 19s last year and this year, and is regarded as one of the best props in the world for his age.

Outside centre and winger Digby Ioane grew up in Melbourne and represented Victoria in both rugby league and rugby union at schoolboy level. member of the Melbourne Storm Under 17 development squad, Ioane secured a scholarship with the Reds Rugby College and moved to Brisbane. e played for the Australian Schoolboys in 2002 and 2003.

In 2004, he represented Queensland A, joined the Reds Super 12 squad and became the equal leading try scorer at the IRB Under 19s World Championships in South Africa. In the same year, he represented Australia at the IRB Under 21s World Championships in Scotland.

Fullback Tajhon Smallman-Mailata also went to Brisbane's Nudgee College and played Australian Schoolboys in 2003, winning the Bronze Boot award for the team's best and fairest.
He represented the Australian Under 19s in 2004 and 2005 and is regarded as a versatile back, with great speed and agility and a knack for spotting a gap and hitting it with speed.

Western Force coach John Mitchell said the five Australian Under 21s were the pick of the crop and would play a key role in the success of the Western Force. e said the team would consist of a core of more experienced players, underpinned by the best of Australia's youth. It's always been our policy to provide an opportunity for the younger guys who have the potential to play for Australia," he said. Cameron, Scott, Pek, Digby and Tajhon are top quality players and could all be in our starting 15 next February."


Richard Brown, Brendan Cannon, Luke Doherty, David Fitter, Gareth Hardy, Matt Henjak, James Hilgendorf, Matthew Hodgson, Tai McIsaac, Lachlan MacKay, Junior Pelesasa, David Pusey, Nathan Sharpe, Cameron Shepherd, Rudi Vedelago, John Welborn.

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