All Black to lead the Force in Bledisloe eve clash | Team Announcement
On a weekend when the Bledisloe Cup will be contested for the first time in Western Australia, a former All Black will take the captaincy for the Western Force.
Jeremy Thrush, who represented New Zealand 12 times, including once against the Wallabies, will be run-on captain when the Force tackle Malaysia Valke on Friday night, less than 24 hours before the historic Bledisloe match on Saturday.
On the first of what will be two massive nights of rugby in Perth, the Force have received a huge boost with regular skipper Ian Prior making a welcome return to action, named on the bench after recovering from a pectoral injury that has sidelined him for 12 weeks.
Both sides will play with extended squads, the Force naming 26 players including new recruit, Jonah Placid, who will pull on the Force jersey for the first time. Placid will line-up on the left-wing, opposite speedster Rod Davies, who will play his last Force game before taking up a contract with the Australian Men’s Sevens squad.
Exciting young prop Cameron Orr makes his first run on start since the first showcase game against the World XV having fully recovered from a toe injury.
Head coach Tim Sampson has called on two RugbyWA Senior Academy and Future Force players Jackson Pugh and Ollie Callan as well as Palmyra’s Chris Miller, UWA’s Leon Feke and Wests Scarborough’s Dom Hardman.
“The game will be a great experience and opportunity for our younger emerging talent who have come through the Western Australian pathway systems,” Sampson said.
“The Malaysia Valke are a team who throws the ball around and play to their strengths out wide where they have a lot of speed. They will also challenge us through the middle of the field with their big pack.”
Sampson will also trial Tongan Halaufa Lavaka, naming the former Manly Sea Eagles player in the reserves.
“Hala has completed a two-year Mormon mission and is very committed to reigniting his professional career. He only joined us a couple of weeks ago and is showing some promising signs”.
The Western Force takes on the Malaysia Valke at HBF Park on Friday, August 9. Entertainment begins at 6.15pm for a 6.30pm kick-off. All tickets are $10 from Ticketmaster.