The Western Force has named five Test players to take on the South Australian Rugby President’s XV at Adelaide’s Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday evening.
Six-time Wallaby Matt Hodgson will captain the Emirates Western Force at openside flanker, with Richard Brown (23 Tests) partnering his skipper on the opposite side of the scrum. Former Waratahs back-rower Lachlan McCaffery completes the back row at No.8.
The Emirates Western Force boast significant firepower up front with Pek Cowan (five Tests) packing down alongside former Australian Under 20 representatives Nathan Charles and Salesi Manu, with New Zealand-born Toby Lynn and Australian junior representative Phoenix Battye in the second row.
Fijian international and Emirates Western Force marquee signing Napolioni Nalaga (eight Tests) will resume his place on the wing, joining Nick Cummins and Alfie Mafi in the West Australian back three. Former IRB International Under 19 Player of the Year Josh Holmes will start in the halves along with rising star Ben Seymour, while former New South Welshman Rory Sidey and ex- North Queensland Cowboy (rugby league) Will Tupou will start in the centres.
Wallabies tighthead prop Salesi Ma’afu (13 Tests) will start on the bench while Nick Haining has been rewarded for his strong performances at flanker for Cottesloe in the Pindan Premier Grade with his place on the reserves list. Replacement scrumhalf Justin Turner will take another step in his return from a knee injury by making his first appearance for the Emirates Western Force in three months.
Emirates Western Force Defence and Skills Coach Phil Blake said the match represents an opportunity for players to stake their claim ahead of the side’s FxPro Super Rugby return match against the Brumbies at nib Stadium on Saturday, 30 June.
“Our goal – coming out of the June Test window – is to test ourselves against a quality opposition leading into the final three matches of the Super Rugby season,” he said. “We’ve found that in the South Australian Rugby President’s XV and we’re really looking forward to the challenge this match presents.
“There is a lot for our guys to play for on Friday night. There are a number of guys gunning for positions in our final three matches while others will be looking to ensure they hit the ground running after a three-week lay-off when the season resumes on June 30. Either way, we certainly won’t be taking this game lightly.”
The South Australian Rugby President’s XV will be bolstered by the selection of Emirates Western Force members Tetera Faulkner, Pat Dellit and Samu Wara, and Force Academy member Luke Burton who will combine with local players from the Adelaide club competition and other marquee representatives from Victoria, NSW and the ACT.
Tickets for the match are $15 for adults and $8 for concession/children and are available through Ticketek at www.ticketek.com.au or 132 849.
2012 Invitational Fixture
Emirates Western Force v South Australian Rugby President’s XV
Friday, 22 June 2012 at Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide
Kick-off: 6.45pm (SA Time)
1. Pek Cowan
2. Nathan Charles
3. Salesi Manu
4. Phoenix Battye
5. Toby Lynn
6. Richard Brown
7. Matt Hodgson
8. Lachlan McCaffery
9. Josh Holmes
10. Ben Seymour
11. Napolioni Nalaga
12. Rory Sidey
13. Will Tupou
14. Nick Cummins
15. Alfie Mafi
16. Elvis Taione
17. Salesi Ma’afu
18. Jake Ball
19. Nick Haining
20. Justin Turner
21. David Harvey
22. Winston Stanley