The Western Force has named six changes to the starting XV for the club’s first-ever Super Rugby Pacific match against Fijian Drua on Saturday, March 19.
In the front row, props Harrison Lloyd and Greg Holmes make their first starts of the season. Wallaby Tom Robertson misses out due to an injury sustained against the NSW Waratahs in Round 4 and Argentina international Santiago Medrano moves to the bench.
Club stalwart Brynard Stander starts at number eight, with Tim Anstee moving to the bench. Stander, who has will be making his 70th Super Rugby appearance for the Force this weekend, brings a plethora of experience and hardness at the breakdown.
Ian Prior and Jake McIntyre were instrumental in the Force’s second-half fightback last week and have been named to start and scrum-half and fly-half respectively. Issak Fines-Leleiwasa and ReesjanPasitoa will be looking to make an impact off the bench on Saturday.
Former All Black Richard Kahui moves back into the starting XV at outside centre alongside Bayley Kuenzle at inside centre.
Speedster Byron Ralston also makes his first start of the campaign, with the winger named at 14. Ralston scored the match-sealing try in the Round 2 win over the Melbourne Rebels in his other appearance this season.
Promising young prop Bo Abra is set to make his Western Force and Super Rugby debut against Drua. The former Junior Wallabies representative has been named on the bench for the Round 6 clash.
Three homegrown WA players feature in the squad, with Ollie Callan maintaining his starting position at flanker, while fellow Force pathway graduates Jackson Pugh and Grason Makara are part of the matchday 23.
1.Harrison Lloyd, 2. Feleti Kaitu’u (c), 3. Greg Holmes, 4. Jeremy Thrush, 5. Izack Rodda, 6. Fergus Lee-Warner, 7. Ollie Callan, 8. Brynard Stander, 9. Ian Prior 10. Jake McIntyre, 11. Manasa Mataele, 12. Bayley Kuenzle, 13. Ricahrd Kahui, 14. Byron Ralston, 15. Jake Strachan.
16. Andrew Ready, 17. Bo Abra, 18. Santiago Medrano, 19. Jackson Pugh, 20. Tim Anstee, 21. Issak Fines-Leleiwasa 22. Reesjan Pasitoa, 23. Grason Makara.