The Force wrapped up their pre-season preparations with a resounding 46-0 win over a Tonga Select XV at Meadow Springs on Friday.
In a pre-season that brought together a new coaching staff and playing squad for the first time, the Force marked their final pre-season fixture by running in eight tries in a dominant performance, including two to former Australian Sevens representative, Junior Rasolea.
Western Force head coach Michael Foley said he was pleased with his side’s intent but acknowledged that there was still more development left in the squad.
“We knew there was going to be some significant changes in terms of the way we wanted to play this year but we knew we had the right people to do that,” he said.
“Tonight was a step forward from last week; there’s still a hell of a lot of work to do but the good thing is we’ve got a group of guys that want to do that.”
The Western Australian side kicked off the scoring when hooker Nathan Charles finished off a powerful rolling maul inside the Tongan 22 before fullback Will Tupou found himself on the end of some accurate passing from wing Alfie Mafi and inside centre Kyle Godwin to add the side’s second.
In the closing stages of the half, the Western Force flexed their set-piece muscle by forcing a penalty try from a scrum on the Tongan line to afford themselves a 19-0 half-time lead.
The second half was ignited after just five minutes when flank Chris Alcock was thrown a ball inside the Tongan 22 and shrugged off two would-be tacklers to score in the corner.
The Force extended their lead to 29 points when Mafi and Chris Tuatara-Morrison combined to capitalise on an 80-metre effort – an effort that was matched minutes later when Rasolea ran onto a pinpoint cross-field kick from Sam Christie and raced away to touch down in the corner.
Rasolea grabbed his second after showing a clean pair of heels down the right wing at the 65th minute before scrumhalf Ryan Louwrens rounded out the scoring by crashing through the Tongan defence in the dying minutes to present Luke Burton with a straightforward conversion.
The Western Force will travel to Melbourne on Tuesday ahead of their Super Rugby season opener against the Rebels on Friday, February 15.
For Western Force:
Tries: Charles, Tupou, Penalty try, Alcock, Tuatara-Morrison, Rasolea 2, Louwrens
Cons: Christie 2, Burton
Chris Alcock, Richard Brown, Luke Burton, Nathan Charles, Sam Christie, Adam Coleman, Angus Cottrell, Patrick Dellit, Tetera Faulkner, Kyle Godwin, Richard Hardwick, James Hilterbrand, Ollie Hoskins, Brad Lacey, Kieran Longbottom, Ryan Louwrens, Toby Lynn, Alfie Mafi, Salesi Manu, Alby Mathewson (captain), Ben Matwijow, Locky McCaffrey, Ben McCalman, Hugh McMeniman, Junior Rasolea, Winston Stanley, Chris Tuatara-Morrison, Will Tupou, Sam Wykes.
Tonga Select XV: 15 Gershom Pulu, 14 'Unaloto Pita, 13 Willis Halaholo, 12 Alfred Paea, 11 Sione 'Ala, 10 Eddie Paea, 9 Leakona Tovi, 8 Paul 'Ofa Finau Havelu, 7 Vili Fainga'a, 6 Finau Tupa, 5 Irwin Finau (captain) 4 'Asaeli Leha'uli, 3 Sione 'Elisi Pulu, 2 Penisimani Kolo Mahe, 1. Kapiolani Sonasi Kaufusi.
Replacements: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Sione Ma'asi Mulikiha'amea, 18 Christopher 'Aho, 19 Filimone Ezra Moala, 20 Paula Hala, 21 Viliami Tahitu'a, 22 Martin Naufahu.
Friday, February 8
Venue: Meadow Springs Sporting Ground, Meadow Springs
Kick-off: 19.00 (10.00 GMT)
Referees: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Graham Cooper (Australia), Matt O'Brien (Western Australia)
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