Force

MacKay returns for Western Force Gold vs Toshiba

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Wallaby squad member Lachlan MacKay has been named at inside centre in a youthful Western Force Gold side for the clash with Japanese club Toshiba at Tompkins Park on Saturday afternoon.


Only seven members of the run-on side from last week’s 28-24 loss to Manu Samoa have retained positions in the starting XV, as coach John Mulvihill gives less experienced players their chance to impress the coaching staff.


Club players Kiti Fuluna, Garth Ziegler, Tim Davies and Tyler Edwards have been named in the 22, with Fuluna and Ziegler included in the starting side.


Changes to last week’s forward pack include props Pek Cowan and AJ Whalley replacing Gareth Hardy and Angus Scott, skipper Luke Doherty moving into the second row and Josh Fuimaono coming in for Richard Brown at number 8. Fuluna will assume Doherty’s blindside flanker position.


In the backline, Matt Henjak and Jimmy Hilgendorf return at scrumhalf and flyhalf respectively, but the rest of the backline has been altered. Ziegler and Brett Stapleton replace Digby Ioane and Tajhon Mailata on the wings, Haig Sare moves out one spot to outside centre to accommodate MacKay’s return and Ryan Lenegan replaces Cam Shepherd at fullback.


Toshiba will provide stern opposition, coming off an impressive 50-17 win over WA’s amateur State side, Argonaut Gold. The ‘Brave Lupus’ side includes former All Black centre Scott McLeod and former Dutch international and New Zealand provincial stand-out Nicholas Holten.


Mulvihill described this game as another step towards the APC in September, and one which would give some lesser known players the chance to push for selection in the squad for that tournament.


‘Changes had to be made due to last week’s performance and the unavailability of Australia A players. This game provides us with another chance to find out what these guys can do now, rather than finding out during the APC,’ Mulvihill said.


‘These games against Toshiba and Yamaha (next month) give us the opportunity to establish some momentum heading into September, as well as exposing guys to higher quality rugby to see if they are up to it.’


‘As last night’s game showed (the win against Argonaut Gold), Toshiba will be tough opponents.’


Kickoff is 3.30pm.


The squad is: 1. Pek Cowan 2. Luke Holmes 3. AJ Whalley 4. Pat O’Connor 5. Luke Doherty (c) 6. Kiti Fuluna 7. Matt Hodgson 8. Josh Fuimaono 9. Matt Henjak 10. Jimmy Hilgendorf 11. Garth Ziegler 12. Lachlan MacKay 13. Haig Sare 14. Brett Stapleton 15. Ryan Lenegan 16. Ryan Tyrell 17. Angus Scott 18. Tyler Edwards 19. Will Brock 20. Vitori Buatava 21. Junior Pelesasa 22. Tim Davies.


Unavailable for section: Nathan Sharpe, Scott Fava (Wallabies), Cam Shepherd, Scott Staniforth, Richard Brown, Digby Ioane (Australia A), Brendan Cannon, Tai McIsaac, David Pusey, Chris O’Young, Zander Peden, David Pocock, Scott Daruda, Rudi Vedelago, (injured), John Welborn (retired).

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