England U20 recruit to make Force debut from the bench
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Western Force face second-placed Super Rugby AU side the Brumbies on Friday at GIO Stadium in Canberra.
Head coach Tim Sampson has named a similar starting 15 to last week’s side that pushed the ladder leading Queensland Reds to the very last minute at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane last Saturday.
“We have two forced changes through injuries this week to Rob Kearney and Richard Kahui. It’s an easy transition for Marcel [Brache] and Jack [McGregor] to come in, they’ve played a lot of rugby with us,” Sampson explained.
McGregor is set to start at fullback in the Round 6 fixture after gaining some valuable minutes last week and scoring a crucial try against the Melbourne Rebels in Round 4 at HBF Park.
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Brache has been named on the wing, with Kahui unable to play after exiting the field against the Reds in the first half and undergoing the head injury assessment protocol this week.
Jono Lance is recalled to the matchday 23, while England U20 recruit Jordan Olowofela is set to make his first appearance for the Force.
Sampson is expecting another entertaining game against the reigning champions.
“We’ve got to play smart and not allow them to make easy entries into our defensive area. We need to frustrate the Brumbies and make them work hard,” he said.
“They like to come out of the blocks quickly, so I’m expecting a high tempo contest throughout.”
Western Force: 15 Jack McGregor, 14 Byron Ralston, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Henry Taefu, 11 Marcel Brache, 10 Jake McIntyre, 9 Tomás Cubelli, 8 Brynard Stander (captain), 7 Kane Koteka, 6 Fergus Lee-Warner, 5 Sitaleki Timani, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Feleti Kaitu’u, 1 Tom Robertson.
Replacements: 16 Jack Winchester, 17 Angus Wagner, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19. Ryan McCauley, 20. Tim Anstee, 21. Ian Prior, 22. Jono Lance, 23. Jordan Olowofela.
Date: Friday, March 26
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
Kick-off: 19.45 (16.45 AWST; 09.45 GMT)
Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant referees: Amy Perrett & Reuben Keane
TMO: Brett Cronan