Force announce side for first Super 14 game
February 8, 2006

Western Force head coach John Mitchell has named the 22 players who will represent the team in its Tooheys New Super 14 debut against the Brumbies at Subiaco Oval on Friday night.

The squad contains six players who have never played an official Super 12/14 game before, and born-and-bred West Australian and former Wallaby, John Welborn, who first played for his State in 1990.

Last year's Sydney University combination of Gareth Hardy, Brendan Cannon and David Fitter will start in the front row, while former Queensland Red Scott Daruda will play at flyhalf, with Lachlan MacKay at inside centre.

Playing against their old teammates at the Brumbies will be Emirates Western Force vice captain Scott Fava, tighthead prop David Fitter and scrumhalf Matt Henjak.

Mitchell said Friday night's game would be an historic occasion for Australian and West Australian rugby and the significance of the match was not lost on the players who had won selection.

He said while it was a great privilege and honour for the 22 men selected to represent the team on debut, he would continue to rely on the entire playing group during the competition.

"Success in Super 14 always depends on a team's depth and while we can only choose 22 players for Friday's match, every member of our squad will play an important role as we go forward," he said.

Mitchell said the team comprised a good mix of experience and youth, and was very excited about the opportunity.

"We cannot wait as a group to get started as everyone has had a taste of what to expect in this competition," he said.

"Our scrum has performed very well during the trial phase and surprised a few people. It will give us a good platform from which to launch our plays."

The starting 15 consists of three players - fullback James Hilgendorf, winger Digby Ioane and openside flanker Matt Hodgson - who have never played an official Super 12/14 game before.

Also making a start at this level, but beginning on the reserves bench, are prop David Te Moana, openside flanker Richard Brown and centre Josh Graham.

The squad is: 1. Gareth Hardy 2. Brendan Cannon 3. David Fitter 4. John Welborn 5. Nathan Sharpe (c). 6. Luke Doherty 7. Matt Hodgson 8. Scott Fava 9. Matt Henjak 10. Scott Daruda 11. Digby Ioane 12. Lachlan MacKay 13. Junior Pelesasa 14. Scott Staniforth 15. James Hilgendorf

16. Tai McIsaac 17. David Te Moana 18. David Pusey 19. Richard Brown 20. Chris O'Young 21. Josh Graham 22. Cameron Shepherd

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