Shepherd returns to the Force for Samoa match




Recently capped Wallaby Cameron Shepherd will play at fullback for Western Force Gold in the team’s clash against Manu Samoa on Saturday night at Members Equity Stadium in Perth.

The 22 year old will form part of an exciting Western Force Gold backline which includes fellow Super 14 players Matt Henjak, James Hilgendorf and Junior Pelesasa, with Lachlan MacKay coming off the bench.

Shepherd made his Wallaby debut against England last month and scored his first Wallaby try against Ireland at Subiaco Oval less than a fortnight ago

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Fellow Australia A squad members Richard Brown and Digby Ioane, recently returned from the U21 World Championships in France, are also in the starting team.

The tenacious Brown put in strong performances during the Tooheys New Super 14 competition until sidelined by injury in round eight against the Stormers, while Ioane regularly brought the home crowd to its feet with his electrifying runs.

Hilgendorf’s selection at flyhalf marks his first representative appearance since being injured in round ten of the Super 14 against the Blues.

Also back from injury, loosehead prop Gareth Hardy, who was selected in the Wallabies training squad in May.

Having thought he’d given the game away after the Super 14 clash against the Sharks in May, former Wallaby lock John Welborn has been brought out of retirement, after an injury to Matt Windle.

The evergreen 35 year old will pack down with 21 year old Pat O’Connor, who made his Super 14 debut in round six against the Waratahs and finished the season with six caps.

O’Connor was also a member of the Australian U21 team which played in France, as was Tajhon Mailata who will play on the right wing.

Western Force Gold coach John Mulvhill said Manu Samoa would be fast and physical, and provide the Perth team with a good contest.

‘They just finished second in the Pacific Five Nations competition so they have plenty of game time under their belts and will be a tough opposition,’ he said.

Mulvihill said many of the Force Gold players had spent recent weeks recovering from injury and reloading after the Super 14 competition and the Force Gold tour of South Africa, and were looking forward to the game.

‘This is essentially the start of our preparation for this year’s APC (Australian Provincial Championship) and to play a team that is ranked 10th in world is a great way to begin,’ he said.

Kick off is at 7pm (WST) at Members Equity Stadium on Saturday 8 July.

The squad is 1. Gareth Hardy, 2. Luke Holmes, 3. Angus Scott, 4. Pat O’Connor, 5. John Welborn, 6. Luke Doherty (c), 7. Matt Hodgson, 8. Richard Brown, 9. Matt Henjak (vc), 10. James Hilgendorf, 11. Digby Ioane, 12. Haig Sare, 13. Junior Pelesasa, 14. Tajhon Mailata, 15. Cameron Shepherd, 16. Ryan Tyrell, 17. AJ Whalley, 18. Josh Fuimaono, 19. Will Brock, 20. Vitori Buatava, 21. Lachlan MacKay (vc), 22. Ryan Lenegan

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