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After a successful Super Rugby AU season, the Western Force test themselves against a New Zealand outfit in the Chiefs for the first time in four years. Keep an eye on things from Perth with live scores on The Roar from 9:55pm (AEST).
Having returned to top-flight rugby in the 2020 Super Rugby AU season, the Force took the next step by cracking the top three in the 2021 edition. Winning their last three games and sticking with the Brumbies in a tense qualifying final defeat, Tim Sampson’s team are certainly in excellent form.
However, the Chiefs are a step above what they’ve had to deal with since returning to the big stage. They too have enjoyed a landmark 2021 so far, recovering from a winless 2020 campaign to make the final this time around.
Bizarrely, they made it to the big dance despite scoring the fewest points and conceding the most in the New Zealand competition for the season. Really, it was only thanks to a string of clutch efforts from Damian McKenzie at the death that saw them win time and again. Perhaps they’re more vulnerable than they appear.
The first round of Super Rugby Trans-Tasman has suggested the gulf in class between Australian and New Zealand rugby sides is stark. Can the Force show they’re made of stronger stuff?
Kick-off: 9:55pm (AEST)
Venue: HBF Park, Perth
Live stream: Stan Sport
Betting: Chiefs $1.13, Force $6 (odds via PlayUp)
1. Tom Robertson, 2. Feleti Kaitu’u, 3. Santiago Medrano, 4. Jeremy Thrush, 5. Fergus Lee-Warner, 6. Tim Anstee, 7. Kane Koteka, 8. Brynard Stander, 9. Tomás Cubelli, 10. Jake McIntyre, 11. Jordan Olowofela, 12. Henry Taefu, 13. Kyle Godwin (c), 14. Richard Kahui, 15. Rob Kearney
Bench: 16. Andrew Ready, 17. Angus Wagner, 18. Greg Holmes, 19. Ryan McCauley, 20. Ollie Callan, 21. Ian Prior, 22. Domingo Miotti, 23. Jake Strachan
1. Aidan Ross, 2. Nathan Harris, 3. Angus Ta’avao, 4. Josh Lord, 5. Tupou Vaa’i, 6. Pita Gus Sowakula, 7. Lachlan Boshier, 8. Luke Jacobson, 9. Brad Weber, 10. Damian McKenzie, 11. Jonah Lowe, 12. Alex Nankivell, 13. Anton Lienert-Brown, 14. Shaun Stevenson, 15. Chase Tiatia
Bench: 16. Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17. Ollie Norris, 18. Joe Apikotoa, 19. Zane Kapeli, 20. Liam Messam, 21. Xavier Roe, 22. Bryn Gatland, 23. Bailyn Sullivan