Stewart, Kaitu'u headline Western Force squad to tour Japan

Thu, Nov 3, 2022, 1:08 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Explained by our littlest fans.

The Western Force have confirmed a 32-player squad for their two-match series against Japan Rugby League One side Urayasu D-Rocks.

New recruits Hamish Stewart and Michael Wells are among 21 players in line for their club debut as Simon Cron begins his tenure with the club.

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They are joined by Wallabies hooker Feleti Kaitu'u and former Chiefs flyer Chase Tiatia as they face the D-rocks on November 6 and 12.

Cron has taken the chance to blood a number of fresh faces, including Sevens star Max Burey and former Junior Wallabies centre Nick Chan

"Max Burey is a first-five/ fullback from the Northern Suburbs of Sydney. He is a very dedicated professional and played well against Perth Gold on the weekend.” Cron explained in a statement.

“Nick Chan is an extremely talented centre out of Randwick in Sydney. He has been involved in other professional programs before, and we are lucky enough to have him here in Perth. Nick could potentially play Super Rugby as well.

“Closer to the start of the season, we will have a greater understanding of what contracts and what positions are available, but we are planning to keep them involved with us long term.”

Cron has also rewarded several local products, with 2022 Premier Grade Hampshire winner Otunuka (Nuku) Pauta (Bayswater), Giovanni (Gio) Leituala (Cottesloe), and top point/try scorer Kainoa Gudgeon (Wests) elevated into the squad after strong performances for Perth Gold during a trial match against the Force.

U19s trio Ned Slack-Smith, Jhy Legg and Marley Pearse will also make the trip over to Japan after impressing during the ongoing National Championships.

“The first priority for Jhy, Marley and Ned was performing at the U19s tournament, and we feel they all have been performing really well in that space,” Cron added.

“Taking them over to Japan will progress their development and present them with an opportunity to play with and against men.

"They all have proven themselves at training and have been performing above expectations especially in the contact zone. I think it will be a great experience for them to come on tour.

“Gio and Nuku were standouts in Perth Gold game. They were outstanding in clubland this year, because of that we thought it was a great opportunity to bring them in and see how they performed.

“Kainoa was initially injured with an MCL knee injury, he has worked his way back and now and has proved fit to travel to Japan. He was top point scorer in club rugby, and we brought him in because of that. I watched all three boys prior to my arrival in Perth, I also spoke to most of the coaches around Perth on who they thought were standouts. These three men were frequent mentions and praised by most.”

Western Force Japan Tour Squad

* Denotes possible debut


Angus Wagner

Patrick Tagg*

Charlie Hancock*

Bo Abra

Sifa Amone*

Feleti Kaitu'u

Jack Winchester

Marley Pearce*

Felix Kalapu*

Ryan McCauley

Luke Callan*

Charlie Connolly*

Nuku Pauta*

Jhy Legg*

Patrick Maka*

Ollie Callan

Ned Slack-Smith*

Michael Wells*

Papillon Sevele*


Ian Prior

Henry Robertson*

Isaac Fines-Leleiwasa

Max Burey*

Hamish Stewart*

Gio Lacetuala*

Nick Chan*

George Poolman*

Reece Tapine

Grason Makara

Jake Strachan

Kainoa Gudgeon*

Chase Tiatia*