Big names unscathed in Force-Spirit trial

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

It was a match of discovery rather than rivalry in Busselton as the Force played out a 22-14 trial match win against Perth Spirit.

Players were switching sides, with no benches named for the intraclub trial, giving Force coach Dave Wessels his first look at a number of new faces in a match setting.

In good news for the Force, Matt Hodgson and big-name recruit Tatafu Polota-Nau made it through their injury returns unscathed, nine days out from the Force's next preseason test..

A hat-trick to South African-born Force Academy player James Verity-Amm sparked the Force’s comeback, as the club’s next generation pushed their credentials.

Tatafu Polota-Nau made it through his first outing unscathed. Photo: True Spirit PhotographyIn the opening stages, it was the Spirit side on top with NRC player of the final Richard Hardwick crossing early and Australia U20s player Alex Newsome stretching the Spirit’s advantage to 14 points.

Verity-Amm snatched one back and five minutes later, the fullback had his second, making the margin a four-point gap at the break.

Midway through the second half, he made it three for the night and gave the Force their first lead of the game.

Newsome had swapped sides by the end of the match, scoring the final try for the Force to give them a 22-14 win.

While the match showed off some of the franchise’s new recruits, how the Force will look come Super Rugby time remains to be seen, with a handful of high-profile players still working their way back from injury.

Prop Francois Van Wyk was added to that list on Saturday, suffering a lower leg injury, while winger Marcel Brache copped a head knock.

Their next preseason outing will be a February 6 trial against the Rebels on the Gold Coast.


Western Force 22

Tries: Van-Amm 3, Newsome, Cons: Grant

Perth Spirit 14

Tries: Hardwick, Newsome, Cons: Prior 2