Western Force coach Michael Foley believes giant lock Adam Coleman has the potential to be just as good as star All Blacks forward Brodie Retallick in the coming years.
Coleman looms as a World Cup smoky after putting in a series of impressive displays over the past 15 months.
Standing at 204cm and weighing 122kg, Coleman is a beast capable of inflicting mass damage with his bullocking runs and hard-hitting tackles.
But he has also displayed a surprising level of skill for a man of his size.
Last November, Retallick became the first lock to be named the World Rugby Player of the Year since 2001.
Foley believes Coleman has all the ingredients to be as good as Retallick.
“Retallick is a very physical player, incredibly fit, has a massive engine, and just keeps going,” Foley said.
“But he also has the ability to get his hands on the ball and have an influence on the game. And he hits hard in defence.
“I think Adam is a similar style of lock.
“Over the next two years, Adam could develop into the same class as Brodie.
“You normally either have a guy who’s very physical, or a player that’s very skilful, but not both.
“What you’re seeing at the moment from Adam are just glimpses of what he’s going to be capable of.”
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has also predicted a bright future for Coleman.
But the 23-year-old Tasmanian faces a fight to push ahead of the likes of Will Skelton, Sam Carter, Rob Simmons, James Horwill, and Luke Jones to earn World Cup selection.
“When you’re picking a World Cup squad, what you’re looking for is consistency,” Foley said.
“What that says to an international coach is that this guy can sustain a very high level of performance.
“If Adam Coleman shows that over the remainder of the season, there’s no question there’s an opportunity there for him.”
Stand-in Western Force skipper Sam Wykes has been impressed by the rate of Coleman’s development.
“For a big man, he gets down low and hits hard. He puts his whole 120kg behind everything, whether it’s a clean-out, tackle, or running at the footy,” Wykes said.
“When he gets going, he’s pretty hard to mow down.
“He’s also willing to learn. He’s always asking where he can get better in all aspects of rugby.”
The 13th-placed Force will be aiming to snap their six-match losing run when they host the Cheetahs at nib Stadium on Saturday night.
The Force put in strong efforts on their recent tour of South Africa, but their inability to finish off their good work resulted in losses to the Bulls and Sharks.