The Western Force has received a boost in the lead-in to Saturday’s match against the Queensland Reds with flanker Angus Cottrell re-committing to the club for another two years through until 2016.
The gritty back-rower started in all but one match for the Western Force this season before suffering a broken ankle against the Crusaders last month. The 24-year-old has formed a powerful back-row combination with Wallabies Matt Hodgson and Ben McCalman this season, both of whom are signed until the end of 2015.
Cottrell – son of Nev Cottrell Jr, who represented Queensland in the late 1970’s, and grandson of the late Nev “Notchy” Cottrell, who captained the Wallabies at hooker for two Tests against the British and Irish Lions in 1950 – is in his third season with the Force after being recruited from Brisbane club, Wests, at the end of 2011.
While disappointed to miss the Western Force’s climax to the season, Cottrell says he’s looking forward to building on what the team has achieved this year. “I love coming here every day and I didn’t want to go anywhere else to be honest,” he said.
“We’ve got a great culture here; there are no egos and everyone wants to chip in and play for their mate. This is a fantastic group to be playing and training with, we’ve got a fantastic bunch of supporters, and playing for the Force is something I’d love to do long-term.
“I feel like I’ve come a long way since I really started learning my trade here three years ago. I know I’ve still got a long way to go but playing alongside guys like Ben McCalman, Hodgo [Hodgson] and Hughy [Hugh McMeniman] has been great for my rugby – they make it very easy for me.
“This year’s been a special year. What we’ve done on-field [in terms of results] has been great, but it’s the confidence and trust that we’ve had in each other that’s made this my one of most enjoyable years playing rugby.
“The guys were very disappointed with last weekend’s performance [against the Blues] and they knew it wasn’t a performance that reflected us as a team. This week’s an important game for us, but we turned our performances around in a week earlier this season and we know that when we front up with the right attitude we’re capable of beating anyone.”
Head Coach Michael Foley says Cottrell will continue to develop into an important member of the Western Force squad.
“Gussy has been excellent for us this season and it was disappointing to see him sustain an injury when he was playing with such consistency,” he said. “His aggressive approach combined well with Hodgo and Ben McCalman in what has been an excellent back row for us this year.
“We’re very pleased to have Gus re-commit to the club beyond this season. He constantly wants to improve and is learning to hold himself to high standards, which is important as we look to keep moving forward as a team.”
Name: Angus Cottrell
Born: 20/11/1989, Brisbane
Super Rugby caps: 29
Super Rugby points: 5 (1 try)
Super Rugby debut: 2012 v Brumbies, Canberra
Representative Rugby: 2012-2014 Western Force