Force tackle World Cup team
The Western Force continue to gather admirers around the world including former Wallabies great and current Tongan national coach Toutai Kefu who has invited the West Australian side to the Pacific nation as they finalise their Rugby World Cup preparations.
Kefu, who played 60 tests for Australia, including the 1999 World Cup, approached the Force after keeping tabs on the WA side during their unbeaten run in the 2019 Global Rapid Rugby Showcase.
“To be invited to play against a national team as part of their preparations for the World Cup is a huge privilege for our players and for the club,” Force head coach Tim Sampson said.
“Opportunities for clubs to play against national teams do not occur often.
“The invitation to travel to Tonga highlights that the Western Force is recognised and respected throughout World Rugby and is a credit to the environment of elite performance everyone has worked hard to create here,” Sampson added.
The match will be held at Teufaiva Sport Stadium in Tonga on Saturday, August 24. The timing of the game will be ideal for both sides with Tonga getting another tough hit out, while the Force kick start their National Rugby Championship campaign at the end of the month.
A proud rugby nation, Sampson knows it will be a tough challenge against the ‘Ikale Tahi who will be playing their last game at home before a further two pre-World Cup matches against Fiji and the All Blacks in New Zealand.
Tonga kicks off their World Cup campaign in Sapporo on September 22 against England and up to four players who took part in the Global Rapid Rugby competition are in contention to pull on the jersey including Leon Fukofuka, Latiume Fosita, Sefo Sakalia and Fotu Lokotui.
Sampson said there was a buzz around the club as they prepared to test themselves against a side brimming with international talent.
“We were wrapped with our performance against the Valke last Friday, it was very satisfying to see the way the group performed as we finalised out Rapid Rugby season,” Sampson said.
“We have quickly turned our attention to tackling Tonga and know that we will need to be at our very best against a world-class side that Toutai has brought together.”
Date: 24 August 2019
Time: 10am AWST – (Tonga: 3pm)
Location: Teufaiva Sport Stadium