You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

ARU axe leading to player mental struggles

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 23/05/2017 Justin Chadwick

Western Force veteran Matt Hodgson has revealed some of his teammates have been left mentally shot by the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the franchise's future, and says the situation is also ruining rugby in Australia.

The ARU's announcement that it will axe either the Force or Melbourne Rebels has caused chaos in rugby circles, with the situation now seemingly headed towards the courts as both franchises fight for their survival.

Last week, Rebels assistant coach Morgan Turinui said he feared the constant speculation could be damaging to the mental health of his players.

And Hodgson holds those same fears about the Force, with the 36-year-old becoming somewhat of a confidante for his teammates.

"I talk to people daily about it ... and it's taking its toll on the players, Hodgson said.

"The mental stability of people is being shocked.

"I think you're seeing that in not only the performance of the two teams, but also in the way they're approaching life at the moment."

With the Force and Rebels unable to re-sign players until a final decision is made, Hodgson fears there could be a mass exodus.

And he would understand if Force players started signing with rival franchises in order to secure their futures.

"It's a tough one, because I love the Force. But I also want to see individuals succeed in the sport they love playing," Hodgson said.

"It's definitely coming to the time now where that (signing elsewhere) is an option they're going to have to take, because they're going to have to take care of themselves and their family.

"Players don't want to leave, but they're going to have to start thinking about their future because other markets are shutting, and we can't just wait forever for something we don't know the outcome of yet."

Hodgson will consider playing on next season if the Force survive.

"The body and the mind is still loving rugby, and the path the Force are taking is a good one," said Hodgson, who has been with the franchise since their first season in 2006.

"So if the option's there, I'll definitely think about it.

"But there's 34 other blokes I'd rather get jobs for first before myself.

"My first goal is securing the Force in the competition."

Hodgson will make his return from an ankle injury in Friday night's clash with Queensland in Brisbane.

Last week's 55-6 loss to the Highlanders means the Force will need to win at least three - and probably all four - of their remaining games if they are to top the Australian conference.

Hodgson hopes last week's poor display against the Highlanders was nothing more than a blip on the radar, saying the side are determined to bounce back hard against the Reds.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon