Force unleash Rocket for Ballymore blitz
Australian Sevens representative and former Queensland Reds speedster, ‘Rocket’ Rod Davies, will be back in familiar territory on Saturday when he lines up on the wing for the Western Force as they tackle Kagifa Samoa at Ballymore.
Davies is a hero in his home state having helped the Reds claim the 2011 Super Rugby Championship and will be a key cog in the Western Force starting XV for Global Rapid Rugby’s first match in the sunshine state.
Davies was born in Rockhampton and played six seasons for the Reds, including the drought breaking 2011 title. After a two try effort from the bench against the Samoan’s in Perth a fortnight ago, Davies has been brought into the run-on side and will line up on the wing.
The capped former Wallaby will be playing opposite Fijian heavyweight Masivesi Dakuwaqa who’s fierce attacking style and speed proved to be a weapon against the tough-tackling Kagifa Samoa side in the club’s first meeting.
Another familiar face returning to his home state for the match is hooker Andrew Ready. After making the switch to join the Western Force in the off-season, Ready has been an important part of the club’s 2019 Showcase Series that has seen them claim the Asia Showcase title, while they are neck and neck with Fijian Latui in the race for the Pacific Series.
Ready makes his return to the match-day 23 after recovering from a groin injury. Coach Tim Sampson has made a number of changes to his front row with Feleti Kaitu’u and Kieran Longbottom returning to the run-on side.
Fan favourite Brynard Stander has swapped back into the starting position with Nedlands Tevin Ferris moving to reserves.
With Henry Taefu unavailable for selection with a rib injury, Samoan international, Rodney Iona, will hope to make an impactful display after being handed the opportunity to start at inside centre after having limited minutes so far this season.
Starting from bench, 21-year-old lock Ben Grant will add fresh energy to the forward pack and is expected to have a forceful impact on the game. UWA Rugby’s Rory O’Sullivan has once again been called up to the reserve bench to support playmaker Issak Fines at scrumhalf.
In: Andrew Ready, Ben Grant
Out: Heath Tessmann, Leon Power
1. Harrison Lloyd, 2. Feleti Kaitu’u, 3. Kieran Longbottom, 4. Johan Bardoul, 5. Fergus Lee-Warner, 6. Henry Stowers, 7. Chris Alcock, 8. Brynard Stander, 9. Issak Fines, 10. AJ Alatimu, 11. Rod Davies, 12. Rodney Iona, 13. Marcel Brache, 14. Masivesi Dakuwaqa, 15. Jack McGregor. RESERVES: 16. Andrew Ready, 17. Markus Vanzati, 18. Tom Sheminant, 19. Ben Grant, 20. Tevin Ferris, 21. Rory O’Sullivan, 22. Andrew Deegan, 23. Clay Uyen.
Watch the game LIVE on Sat 15:30 AEST / 13:30 AWST, on SBS Viceland, SBS On Demand, Kayo Sports and on FOX Sports Aus (503).