Cowan, Ainsley sign new Force contracts

Date published: May 18 2016

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Wallaby Pek Cowan and youngster Jermaine Ainsley have both put pen to paper with the Western Force as both props sign on until the end of the 2018 Super Rugby season.

Cowan began his career with the club in the Western Force’s inaugural season and despite suffering a broken arm this campaign is showing no sign of slowing down, with the 10-time capped Wallaby’s scrummaging prowess and breakdown intensity again a feature through the 2016 season.

The 29-year-old says his passion for the club and the game still runs deep and is thrilled to be locked in for the next two seasons.

“I’m really excited to be staying on," he told the Force's official website. 

“We haven’t had the best last couple of seasons so I am really looking forward to ripping in for the next few years and making the most of the talented group we’ve got.”

“Retirement was never on the agenda for me and it means a lot to me to re-sign and continue my rugby for the one club. In the last two seasons we haven’t gone all that well despite playing some good footy and the prospect of putting some good years together is exciting.”

Speaking on fellow front-rower Jermaine Ainsley, Cowan said the 20-year-old is experienced beyond his years.

“It is like he has been playing Super Rugby for years," he said.

"He takes on advice really well and he just soaks it up and gets out there and does his job.”

After rising through the RugbyWA pathway Ainlsey was a member of the extended playing squad in 2016 and made his debut in Round One this season against the Melbourne Rebels and has gone on to earn another six caps in his debut season with one run-on start against the Brumbies.

Weighing in at 118kg and standing at 181cm and equipped with great technical skills at the breakdown and set piece Ainsley attracted interest from New Zealand heavyweights the Chiefs and the Highlanders but after getting an opportunity this year says he is ecstatic to be staying on at the Force.

“I’m really happy to be back here for the next two years,” he said. 

“I’m really happy with the season I’ve had so far it has been amazing how it has all turned out really. At the start of the year I was planning to play one game but to have seven under the belt is awesome and I definitely see a future here.”

“There was some interest from other teams but there is such a good environment here at the Force. In my first season the coaching staff and the players showed a lot of faith in me to play me from the start and I’ve grown closer with the boys so I’m just really happy to sign on.”

Western Force head coach Michael Foley said the club is thrilled to have secured both front-rowers’ signatures.

“It is fantastic news for the club,” he said. 

“Firstly on Pek (Cowan) at the club for us next season is a huge thing for us, he is a leader and really shows the way for a young leader like Adam (Coleman) in the tight five. 

"For a guy that came here as a young man and made his way to the international level it is no surprise that someone like Adam gets so much from playing with a guy like Pek.”

“I think in Australian rugby we are sometimes too quick to move players on, in the northern hemisphere there are a number of players playing well into their thirties. Pek no doubt has a lot of rugby left in him and a player of his experience is incredibly hard to put a price on both as a player and a leader.

“Jermaine is the guy that Pek was 10 or 11 years ago. To be playing Super Rugby at the age of 20 just serves well for what he is capable of moving forward. The thing that impresses me most about Jermaine is that he pushes his own standards and own expectations up.

“He doesn’t want to be judged as a first year player he wants to be judged as a world leading player because that is what he aspires to. 

"He is definitely mature beyond his years, he wants to learn, he knows what his goals are and wants to get better every day in order to reach them.”

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