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Force announce 2008 UK tour dates

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The Emirates Western Force will embark on a five-week development tour of the UK in August and September, RugbyWA announced today.


The six-match tour pits the WA side against four top-flight English Guinness Premiership teams and two regional academy sides.


A 28-man squad, to be announced in July, will depart Perth on July 31 and will open the six-match program against Jonny Wilkinson’s Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park on August 8.


After a mid-week clash with the Saracens Academy, the team will collide with the Eddie Jones-led Saracens at Old Albanians before a hit out against the Northampton Academy team.


The tour will then climax with matches against recently promoted English League One champions Northampton Saints and 2007/08 Guinness Premiership Finalists Leicester Tigers.


The touring party will arrive back in Perth on September 3.


Coach John Mitchell said he will assemble a developing squad for the 34-day tour.


‘The touring squad will consist of any RugbyWA contracted players not involved with the Wallabies, plus a handful of our academy players,’ said Mitchell.


‘The team will travel as the Emirates Western Force and will wear the Emirates Western Force jersey. We are going on this tour with the intentions of developing our game and to perform well in preparation for the 2009 Super 14 season,’ he said.


Mitchell said his side will face quality opposition throughout the tour.


‘We are expecting the English teams to field strong sides. These will be important pre-season trial matches for each of these teams and they will be just as serious as we are about performing well.’


‘Saracens are working extremely hard under Eddie Jones and only a couple of weeks ago Leicester came within ten points of winning the Premiership Final against London Wasps.’


‘Newcastle has a proud history and Northampton finished undefeated from 30 matches in the second tier competition this year,’ said Mitchell.


‘It will give some of our younger guys some exposure to quality rugby in the lead up to the 2009 Super 14 season.’


Mitchell said the tour was brought about after the axing of the Mazda ARC competition this season.


‘With the ARC being scrapped after one season, teams will have to explore alternative means to continue playing competitive rugby throughout the winter/spring period,’ said Mitchell.


‘This tour will provide the guys with invaluable game time and the touring experience will serve to bring the team closer as a unit prior to our pre-season (training).’


Emirates Western Force 2008 UK Development Tour


Friday 8 August
EWF v Newcastle Falcons
Kingston Park


Tuesday 12 August
EWF v Saracens Academy
Old Albanians


Saturday 16 August
EWF v Saracens
Old Albanians


Saturday 23 August
EWF v Northampton Academy
Franklin’s Gardens


Wednesday 27 August
EWF v Northampton Saints
Franklin’s Gardens


Saturday 30 August
EWF v Leicester Tigers
Welford Road


NB Kick off times TBC, further information to be provided in the lead up to the tour.

 

Super14.com

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