The Road Safety Western Force have announced a strong starting XV to take on the Melbourne Rebels at Bond University on the Gold Coast this Monday, 6 February.
The Force and Rebels will play four quarters, in which we will see the Western Force’s starting XV play for at least the first two quarters with a host of replacements to take the field to finish the match.
Road Safety Western Force Head Coach Dave ‘Blood’ Wessels says the trial match against the Rebels will be a good test leading into the Super Rugby season proper and gives the team an opportunity to put pre-season training out on the pitch.
“We’ll look to play our game, it’s all very well to do things in training against ourselves but as soon as there’s live contact some of the best laid plans go out the window.
“The Rebels don’t know how our game plan works and we don’t know how their game plan works, that provides us with a great opportunity to test ourselves.”
In the front row we will see the return of club stalwart Pek Cowan since injuring his arm in pre-season, alongside him will be club co-captain Heath Tessmann at hooker and young up-and-coming star Shambeckler Vui will pack down in the tighthead position.
In the locks new recruit Matt Philip will partner with WA local Ross Haylett-Petty, as they look to cement a position for Round One.
At blindside flanker, former Future Force Foundation product Kane Koteka will get an opportunity to impress after a strong showing in pre-season, while on the other side of the scrum fellow inaugural Future Force member Richard Hardwick will start at number seven. Hard running South African Brynard Stander rounds out the forward pack at No. 8.
The backline will look for quality service from their halves with Ryan Louwrens starting at scrumhalf and playmaker Jono Lance will be looking to lock in his starting spot in the flyhalf position.
New recruits Bill Meakes and Curtis Rona will line up at 12 and 13 respectively, and will definitely be a pairing to watch in the centre channel.
We’re sure to see fireworks from the back three, with former NRL recruit Chance Peni on the left wing, Wallaby Luke Morahan on the right wing and current Nathan Sharpe Medallist Dane Haylett-Petty starting at fullback.
With an extended bench named, we are expected to see the likes of Tatafu Polota-Nau, Peter Grant, Matt Hodgson, Future Force Foundation products James Verity-Amm, Mees Erasmus and Onehunga Havili and new recruits Robbie Coleman, Isi Naisarani, Alex Newsome and Michael Ruru.
The Western Force will clash with the Melbourne Rebels at 5:30pm (AEST) at Bond University, the match will not be live streamed, but the game will be tweeted live from the Western Force Twitter account and a full match report will be released post game.
Western Force v Melbourne Rebels
Monday, 6 February at 5:30pm (3:30pm AWST)