Selectors reward Ryan's cross
By Brad Greenshields
SCORING two tries in his international debut last week against Tonga left Western Force centre Ryan Cross in no doubt that he made the right decision switching from league over to the 15-man game.
Having played union in the Australian Schoolboys side, the Waverley College graduate's return to the game in 2007 has been nothing short of spectacular.
A member of the potent Force backline that almost made the Super 14 semis in only the franchise's second year, Cross's form in the centres was so impressive this year that it demanded selectors give him an opportunity at a higher level which he grabbed with both hands last week.
In typically modest fashion, Cross preferred to talk about the team rather than himself when asked about his try-scoring double last week.
"It was a pretty tough game early but we stuck together in the second half and we got a few tries out of it so it was great," he said.
"We haven't played together and Tonga were a pretty physical team but for most of us we hadn't played for two or three weeks so I think it was just getting back into it and once we found our feet it all came together."
After demolishing Tonga last week in the second half to record a 60-15 scoreline, Cross expects a much tighter affair on Saturday against Samoa, who defeated Fiji before losing 31-10 last weekend against the Junior All Blacks.
"I think there's still a lot of improvement left in us with our combinations coming together," the 27-year-old said.
"Hopefully this week we'll play smart and hold the ball as all the Pacific Nations teams are pretty physical."