Force name Wallabies to face Dragons

Perth based Super Rugby franchise the Western Force have included their Wallaby contingent to take on the Asia Pacific Dragons in the club’s final Super Rugby pre-season fixture at McGillivray Oval on Saturday.

Captain Matt Hodgson and No.8 Ben McCalman, who were both rested in the Force’s 31-21 win over the Brumbies last week, will join fellow Wallabies Nathan Charles, Pek Cowan, Tetera Faulkner, Kyle Godwin and Luke Morahan in the Force line-up.

Steve Mafi (Tonga) and Alby Mathewson (New Zealand) will also bring international experience to the Force squad, to face the invitational team featuring players from Asia and the Pacific Islands, including former All Black, Rico Gear; and three-time Samoan Rugby World Cup representative, Mo Schwalger.

The Asia Pacific Dragons side will be coached by All Blacks legend, Tana Umaga.

Saturday will be the final opportunity for the club’s passionate ‘Sea of Blue’ to see the Force before the club’s 10th season of Super Rugby kicks off in Sydney against the NSW Waratahs next month (Sunday, 15 February).

The Force’s match against the Dragons will be preceded by Force ‘A’s clash against the Perth Spirit, with the Spirit side featuring many club players that represented the WA team during last year’s inaugural Buildcorp National Rugby Championship.

Western Force Head Coach Michael Foley says Saturday’s two matches will provide another step towards his side’s Super Rugby opener against the Waratahs.

“Friday (against the Brumbies) was an opportunity for us to test ourselves against a quality Super Rugby opposition – something we weren’t able to do last season – and it’s important that we take another step up against both the Dragons and Perth Spirit on Saturday,” he said.

“While there were a number of positives out of last week’s game, there were also some good lessons which we’ll challenge ourselves on in prep ahead of this week’s game.

“The Dragons will provide us with a different type of opposition as they have a number of Test-quality players in their line-up, who will challenge us through the entire 80 minutes.”

2015 Super Rugby – Pre-Season
McGillivray Oval, UWA Sports Park, Mt Claremont, Perth
Saturday, 31 January 2015

Western Force v Asia Pacific Dragons Kick-off: 5pm

Prop: Pek Cowan, Tetera Faulkner, Chris Heiberg, Joe Savage
Hooker: Robbie Abel, Nathan Charles
Lock: Steve Mafi, Wilhelm Steenkamp, Rory Walton, Sam Wykes
Back row: Angus Cottrell, Richard Hardwick, Matt Hodgson, Ross Haylett-Petty, Kane Koteka, Ben McCalman
Scrumhalf: Alby Mathewson, Ryan Louwrens
Flyhalf: Luke Burton, Sias Ebersohn
Centre: Patrick Dellit, Kyle Godwin, Ammon Matuauto, Solomoni Rasolea
Wing: Marcel Brache, Brad Lacey, Luke Morahan, Mitchell Scott
Fullback: Dane Haylett-Petty, Albert Nikoro

Force ‘A’ v Perth Spirit Kick-off: 3.40pm

Prop: Oliver Hoskins, Francois van Wyk
Hooker: Heath Tessmann
Lock: Wilhelm Steenkamp, Rory Walton
Back row: Chris Alcock, Ross Haylett-Petty, Brynard Stander
Scrumhalf: Ian Prior
Flyhalf: Zack Holmes
Centre: Luke Burton, Ammon Matuauto
Wing: Brad Lacey, Albert Nikoro, Mitchell Scott
Fullback: Patrick Dellit

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