Western Force debuts in Super Rugby Australia, after having the first date free, and returns to the competition after being disassociated from 2017 when he last played the tournament. He will face the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday at 6.15, live on ESPN Play.
Coach Tim Sampson chose the best he has available, highlighting the presence of Jono Lance, who has 66 games and two Super Rugby titles – with Reds in 2011 and Waratahs in 2014 -, on his back. He spent the past three seasons with Worcester Warriors in England.
“Jono has taken good care of himself, he’s in good condition,” Sampson said. “Having that experience at No. 10 is crucial for us, especially in our first game to make sure we get off to a good start. He will show good leadership there and provide us with good game management. ”
On the other hand, the second line Jeremy Thrush, whose Super Rugby career includes more than 100 caps for Hurricanes, is promoted to the initial lineup with Johan Bardoul moving to the bench, compared to the team’s last game in March.
Among the alternates will be the new signing, Wallabies member Greg Holmes, in place of Tom Sheminant. Holmes is a veteran of 144 Super Rugby tests with the Reds and arrives in Perth after playing for Exeter Chiefs of England.
Western Force: 15 Jack McGregor, 14 Byron Ralston, 13 Marcel Brache, 12 Nick Jooste, 11 Brad Lacey, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Ian Prior (c), 8 Brynard Stander, 7 Tevin Ferris, 6 Henry Stowers, 5 Fergus Lee- Warner, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Kieran Longbottom, 2 Feleti Kaitu’u, 1 Angus Wagner
Substitutes: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Chris Heiberg, 18 Greg Holmes, 19 Johan Bardoul, 20 Ollie Callen, 21 Jacob Abel, 22 Henry Taefu, 23 Kyle Godwin
Place: Sydney Cricket Ground
Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant referees: Amy Perrett, James Quinn
TMO: James Leckie