Old and new for Season One debut
The Western Force’s first match in the inaugural million-dollar Global Rapid Rugby home-and-away competition will feature three players from the recent Rugby World Cup and five Force debutants.
Ian Prior will lead the Force onto the field against Malaysia Valke, a line-up starring a number of domestic players from the World Cup-winning nation of South Africa, for what’s expected to be a high scoring battle.
Saturday’s match at HBF Park, Perth, will be the Force’s first in an international competition since the team was cut from Super Rugby three years ago.
Big things are expected from World Cup players Marcel Brache (USA), Henry Taefu and AJ Alatimu (Samoa), while experienced Western Australians Kieran Longbottom and Brad Lacey return from knee surgeries that forced them to miss most of 2019.
Coach Tim Sampson named five debutants in the squad, including WA local Grason Makara.
“We’re just excited now! They guys were ready probably a few weeks ago. It’s great that round one is here and that we are at home,” Sampson said.
“We’re looking forward to being back at HBF Park, we’ve had great success over there in the last couple of years and a lot of that we must thank the Sea of Blue for.”
Sampson is expecting a tough game with Valke boasting a deadly combination of speed and strength.
“They are a typical South African team; they have a lot of size through their forwards and pretty handy backs out wide,” Sampson said.
“With all the preparation we have had going into this we will focus on us more. We have a couple of things up our sleeves to combat their size and speed, but they are a good side.”