Perth’s Force kicks off this weekend



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Western Australia’s rugby fans will officially have a rugby team on Saturday, with the Force taking on Super 14’s other newcomer, South Africa’s Central Cheetahs, in a four quartered trial match at Subiaco Oval.

Coach John Mitchell has said he is wary of giving up one of his key assets and will use the element of surprise.

“Quite a lot (will be undercover). There is a lot of footage that goes around from these trial games, everyone has access to the games,” Mitchell said.

“At this level it is pretty cut-throat in terms of how people can capture footage, so you have to be pretty mindful of that.”

The Force’s Wallabies will be held back from the game as well as Junior Pelesasa, Lachlan MacKay and Luke Doherty who were all not considered due to injury.

Instead, canny Kiwi Mitchell named a squad of 27 that includes 19 players yet to play at Super 12 level.

“Some of the apprentices have put their hand up in pre-season, and some of the apprentices will start the game on Saturday night,” Mitchell said.

“Where they have come from, what level they have played previously, what contract they are on right now is void really.”

Cheetahs coach Rassie Erasmus has named a strong side which will include Springbok Meyer Bosman, All Black Keith Lowen and the mercurial Gaffie du Toit.

Mitchell said the result of the match was irrelevant. “I have been in trial situations before where we have conceded 90 points and 60 points and gone on to the semi-finals of the competition,” Mitchell said.

“Trials are irrelevant when it comes to competition time. Trials are about preparing individuals, building teamwork and eventually being totally ready for round one.

Western Force squad

(alphabetically): Richard Brown, Vitori Buatava, Pek Cowan, Scott Daruda, Tim Davidson (vice capt) Gavin Debartolo, Josh Fuimaono, Josh Graham, Gareth Hardy, James Hilgendorf, Matt Hodgson, Luke Holmes, Brock James, Tajhon Mailata, Tai McIsaac (capt), David Te Moana, Pat O’Connor, Chris O’Young, Alexander Peden, David Pusey, Haig Sare, Angus Scott, Brett Stapleton, Ben Ward, John Welborn, AJ Whalley, Matt Windle

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