Force unveil squad, schedule for World Series Rugby
BILLIONAIRE Andrew Forrest has announced a series of seven invitational matches for axed Super Rugby club Western Force this year, grandly titled World Series Rugby.
The matches, to be played at Perth's nib Stadium, will pit a new-look Force team against Pacific nations Fiji, Tonga and Samoa plus Hong Kong and Super Rugby outfits the Rebels and Crusaders between May and August.
The clash with the Rebels will pit the Force against their former coach Dave Wessels and many former teammates who signed there after the Force were axed from Super Rugby by the national body.
Forrest promised WSR would evolve into an international competition for the Asia Pacific region in 2019, something he had been trying to get up for 2018.
"The focus for 2018 is to reintroduce and reinforce professional rugby in Western Australia for the benefits of our grassroots community, our players and our fans," Forrest said.
"In 2019, the WSR will evolve into a high calibre, international competition with the goal of making rugby the community building sport of Asia," Forrest said.
New initiatives and changes in the rules will be trialled during the WSR, including a try being worth 10 points.
Tuggeranong Vikings coach Tim Sampson will lead the squad, which contains 11 former Force players and some familiar names in former Springboks centre Jacque Fourie, Peter Grant, Chris Alcock and former Reds flyer Rod Davies.
Force squad: AJ Alatimu, Chris Alcock, Marcel Brache, Masivesi Dakuwaqa, Rod Davies, Andrew Deegan, Tevin Ferris, Jacque Fourie, Josh Furno, Peter Grant, Chris Heiberg, Rodney Iona, Feleti Kaitu'u, Brad Lacey, Kieran Longbottom, Ryan Louwrens, Cameron Orr, Harrison Orr, Leon Power, Ian Prior, Harry Scoble, Tom Sheminant, Brynard Stander, Elliot Turner, Clay Uyen, Fergus Lee-Warner
WSR invitational matches in 2018
May 4 v Fiji
May 13 v Tonga
June 9 v Rebels
June 22 v Crusaders
July 13 v Samoa
August 10 v Hong Kong
August 17 TBA