Young guns to start against Blue Bulls




Academy players Kieran Longbottom and Will Brock will start for Western Force Gold for the first time when the team plays the Blue Bulls on Friday at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria.

The match is the last of Western Force Gold’s three game tour of South Africa and will see fellow Academy player Ryan Lenegan and Nedlands winger Garth Ziegler also in starting positions.

Emirates Western Force flanker and tour captain Luke Doherty will join Matt Windle in the second row, while Brock James‘ return to flyhalf will depend on a fitness test, with Academy flyhalf Nathan McCort on standby.

Western Force Gold coach John Mulvihill said the game would provide the Academy players with another opportunity to take a step up.

‘We’ve had a good week’s preparation and worked on the core skills that let us down in the game against the Lions,’ he said.

‘Much of the focus has been on defence and the areas we will target in attack, particularly at the breakdown.’

Mulvihill said it was very important, particularly against bigger and stronger opposition, that the team maintained possession so it could build phases.

Kick off is at 3pm (SA time).

In their first tour game, Western Force Gold lost 31-36 to a Sharks Invitational side in Pietermaritzburg and last Saturday, they went down 0-37 to the Golden Lions in Johannesburg.

The squad returns to Perth on Sunday morning.

The squad is: 1. Kieran Longbottom 2. Luke Holmes 3. AJ Whalley 4. Matt Windle 5. Luke Doherty (c) 6. Josh Fuimaono 7. Will Brock 8. Richard Brown 9. Chris O’Young 10. Brock James 11. Brett Stapleton 12. Haig Sare 13. Zander Peden 14. Garth Ziegler 15. Ryan Lenegan 16. Ryan Tyrell 17. David Te Moana 18. David Fitter 19. Tyler Edwards 20. Vitori Buatava 21. Nathan McCort 22. Gavin DeBartolo 23. Matt Shaw 24. Elliot Kuhlmann-Hall

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