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Five players to make their Force debut against Rebels

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Western Force head coach Michael Foley has named his team to play the Melbourne Rebels and included five players who will make their team debut this weekend in Perth.

Former Queensland Reds teammates Jono Lance and Ben Tapuai will both be in the starting XV, while Jermaine Ainsley, Peter Grant and Semisi Masirewa are all set to come off the bench.

Head Coach Michael Foley says he has full confidence in the abilities of all five debutants and looks forward to seeing them in blue for the first time.

“It’s an exciting time for those five players,” he said. “They’ve all worked hard to earn their places in the match squad for Saturday.”

“Round one is a great opportunity for every player in the team to put what we’ve practiced into action. From the beginning of our preparation, every player and staff member has committed to bravely chase the standards and style game of game we believe will bring us success and we’re all looking forward to our first step.”

Matt Hodgson will lead the team for the fourth year in a row and pack down in the seven jersey alongside Brynard Stander who will be at blindside flanker and Angus Cottrell will start at No. 8 in the absence of Ben McCalman.

The front row will boast veteran Pek Cowan at loosehead, alongside hooker Nathan Charles, and young gun Guy Millar will start at tighthead for just the second time in his career.

The familiar pairing of Steve Mafi and Adam Coleman, will start in the second row and look to dominate at set piece.

In the backline, Jono Lance will start at flyhalf for the first time for the Force, with Alby Mathewson on his inside. Kyle Godwin will start at 12, with Ben Tapuai debuting in the number 13 jersey in front of the Sea of Blue.

While Marcel Brache, Luke Morahan and Dane Haylett-Petty will form the back three.

On the bench, Nedlands’ Jermaine Ainsley is in line to make his Super Rugby debut, along with former Stormers and Springboks flyhalf Peter Grant and New Zealand speedster Semisi Masirewa.

Western Force

1. Pekahou Cowan , 2. Nathan Charles , 3. Guy Millar , 4. Steve Mafi , 5. Adam Coleman , 6. Brynard Stander , 7. Matt Hodgson , 8. Angus Cottrell , 9. Alby Mathewson , 10. Jono Lance** , 11. Marcel Brache , 12. Kyle Godwin , 13. Ben Tapuai** , 14. Luke Morahan , 15. Dane Haylett-Petty

Replacements : 16. Heath Tessmann , 17. Chris Heiberg , 18. Jermaine Ainsley** , 19. Ross Haylett-Petty , 20. Chris Alcock , 21. Ian Prior , 22. Peter Grant** , 23. Semisi Masirewa**

** denotes Western Force/Super Rugby debut

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