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All Black to lead Force

Wed, 06 Feb 2013 08:45
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I couldn't be more impressed with the attitude of this playing group
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All Black scrumhalf Alby Mathewson will captain the Western Force against a Tongan XV in a pre-season trial in Mandurah on Friday.

Mathewson, born in Hastings, New Zealand, played four Tests for the All Blacks and appeared in 80-odd Super Rugby matches for the Hurricanes and Blues before joining up with the Force this year.

Force coach Michael Foley named a 29-man squad for their final match of the pre-season.

The Tongan XV will be made up of Tongan eligible players from Australia, New Zealand and Tonga who do not have current Super Rugby contracts.

The Force coach, Foley, said the match provides a final opportunity for players to push their claims for selection for the team's Super Rugby opener against the Rebels on Friday, February 15.

"Last week's game [a narrow two-point loss to the Brumbies] was an important one as our first opportunity to play together as a team," he said.

"While our effort was good in the first quarter, we lacked cohesion.

"However, to the players' credit, they remained composed and became more comfortable together as the game progressed.

"I couldn't be more impressed with the attitude of this playing group. They're living up to the standards they've set and there's a determination within the group to see this team develop and improve. The pleasing outcome of last week's match is that we have a genuine contest for positions across the field and Friday's games will go a long way to confirming the side that takes to the field in Melbourne next week."

Western Force squad: Chris Alcock, Richard Brown, Luke Burton, Nathan Charles, Sam Christie, Adam Coleman, Angus Cottrell, Patrick Dellit, Tetera Faulkner, Kyle Godwin, Richard Hardwick, James Hilterbrand, Ollie Hoskins, Brad Lacey, Kieran Longbottom, Ryan Louwrens, Toby Lynn, Alfie Mafi, Salesi Manu, Alby Mathewson (captain), Ben Matwijow, Locky McCaffrey, Ben McCalman, Hugh McMeniman, Junior Rasolea, Winston Stanley, Chris Tuatara-Morrison, Will Tupou, Sam Wykes.

Date: Friday, February 8
Venue: Meadow Springs Sporting Ground, Meadow Springs
Kick-off: 19.00 (10.00 GMT)
Referees: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Graham Cooper (Australia), Matt O'Brien (Western Australia)

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