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Former All Black ready for Force battle
Justin Chadwick
20:10 AEST Tue Nov 27 2012

After successfully negotiating his way through a two-day SAS camp, new Western Force recruit Alby Mathewson is ready to fight tooth and nail with Brett Sheehan for the Super Rugby side's starting halfback spot.

Mathewson was lured to the Force as its marquee international player, but that by no means guarantees the former All Black a regular starting berth at the Perth-based franchise.

Sheehan has been a mighty warrior for the Force over the past three seasons, with the 33-year-old even receiving a Wallabies call-up this year.

Mathewson, who notched four Tests for the All Blacks, said he would embrace his battle with Sheehan.

"I think it's going to bring the best out of both of us," Mathewson said on Tuesday.

"That's what competition does. I came here to compete for a spot.

"I've heard a few stories that he's pretty competitive as well, so it's only going to be good for the team."

With halfback Piri Weepu limiting his opportunities at the Blues, Mathewson jumped at the chance to join the Force under new coach Michael Foley.

The 26-year-old, who has played 83 Super Rugby games, said he was glad to be in Perth, despite the "bloody hot" weather.

"I like to play a quick style, and that's what Foley wants to play - an attacking brand this year," Mathewson said.

"That was the reason for staying in Super Rugby as well rather than going to Europe. This competition is the toughest in the world and the style suits my play."

Any thoughts Mathewson had of being eased in at the Force went out the window last week when he and his new teammates were thrust into a two-day SAS camp.

"There was no complaining. Everyone just got on with the job, even though we were sleep deprived and what have you," Mathewson said.

"It wasn't a flog-a-thon or anything. It was more mental, just making sure that when times get tough, you stick together and use teamwork to get through things."


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