New dawn for revamped Force

Tue, 29 Jan 2013 09:21
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Thirteen players, including South African flyhalf Sias Ebersohn, will make their debut for Western Force when they face the Brumbies in their pre-season fixture on Friday.

Thirteen players, including South African flyhalf Sias Ebersohn, will make their debut for Western Force when they face the Brumbies in their pre-season fixture on Friday.

Force coach Michael Foley has named a 31-man squad to tackle the ACT side in Darwin with the sides competing for the Territories Cup.

The Western Australian province will run out an overhauled backline that includes former All Black Alby Mathewson, ex-'Baby Bok' Ebersohn, Waikato pivot Sam Christie, the Australian Sevens pair of Junior Rasolea and Ed Stubbs, former Hurricanes midfielder Jayden Hayward and Shute Shield stars Chris Tuatara-Morrison, Mick Snowden and Corey Brown.

Captain Matt Hodgson will lead out a familiar Force forward pack featuring six Wallaby representatives, including off-season recruit Hugh McMeniman. The forward pack also includes former Waratahs flank Chris Alcock, NSW Country representative Rory Walton and ex-Melbourne Rebels hooker Heath Tessmann.

Foley said the match is another key step in relaunching the side.

"This match is important as it gives us a clear starting point from which to begin building towards our season," he said. "I've been really impressed with the way our guys have approached the pre-season and maintained their standards throughout.

"We've introduced and worked on a new brand of Force rugby, the guys have completely bought into that, and Friday provides a first opportunity to test ourselves against a Super Rugby opposition.

"The influx of players we've had for this season has been well documented and this match provides a chance for this new squad to come together and play alongside one another for the first time.

"It's important that we use these trials to build towards our first match of the season against the Rebels, and continue to build and develop beyond that as the season progresses.

"This pre-season's been extremely productive for us and after four months of training and these players are hungry for their opportunity," he added.

Force squad: Chris Alcock, Phoenix Battye, Corey Brown, Richard Brown, Nathan Charles, Sam Christie, Angus Cottrell, Pek Cowan, Patrick Dellit, Sias Ebersohn, Tetera Faulkner, Kyle Godwin, Jayden Hayward, Matt Hodgson (captain), Kieran Longbottom, Toby Lynn, Salesi Ma'afu, Alfie Mafi, Alby Mathewson, Locky McCaffrey, Ben McCalman, Hugh McMeniman, Junior Rasolea, Mick Snowden, Winston Stanley, Ed Stubbs, Heath Tessmann, Chris Tuatara-Morrison, Will Tupou, Rory Walton, Sam Wykes.

Date: Friday, February 1
Venue: Marrara Rugby Park, Darwin
Kick-off: 19.30 (10.00 GMT)
Referee: Andrew Lees
Assistant referees: Will Houston, Jake Barlow

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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 10 0 5 43
Waratahs 15 8 0 7 40
Rebels 15 7 0 8 31
Reds 15 3 1 11 17
Force 15 2 0 13 13
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 15 11 0 4 53
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 52
Chiefs 15 11 0 4 51
Crusaders 15 11 0 4 50
Blues 15 8 1 6 39
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 1 4 51
Bulls 15 9 1 5 42
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Sunwolves 15 1 1 13 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 14 11 0 3 52
Sharks 15 9 1 5 43
Jaguares 14 3 0 11 18
Kings 15 2 0 13 9