The Western Force have announced their 26-man squad for the new World Series Rugby, including Jaque Fourie and 11 former Force players coming back to represent the side.
The new competition, which was launched by billionaire mining magnate Andrew Forrest on Tuesday, will see the Force take on some of the best national representative teams from the Asia Pacific region and return to the field against a number of Super Rugby rivals.
The series will take place at nib Stadium in Perth and kick off on May 4 against Fiji.
The men in blue will then face off against Tonga, the Rebels and the Crusaders before challenging Samoa and Hong Kong.
Western Force head of elite performance Matt Hodgson said the World Series would galvanise elite rugby in Western Australia
and bring fans a unique and exciting rugby experience.
“This series offers a strong future for rugby in Western Australia,” Hodgson said.
“The Western Force are a quality outfit that have attracted interest from some of the best teams in our region.
“These matches are going to be fast and exciting and will offer a new experience for rugby fans in WA and across the Asia Pacific region.”
The search for the new Force team stretched far and wide – hand picking players from Western Australia, interstate and overseas.
The squad includes players with international Test rugby and Super Rugby experience and importantly, sees 11 former Force players come back to represent the side.
“The squad has an important spread of youth and experience and we are delighted that the players have committed to the club,” Head Coach Tim Sampson said.
“The players have joined from many different clubs throughout Australia and internationally, so it is fantastic that we have players like Ian Prior, Peter Grant and Marcel Brache and others who have been with the Western Force previously.”
Former star Springbok centre Jaque Fourie will pull on his boots again and move to Perth to join the Force. Fourie played 72 Tests for the Springboks between 2003 and 2013 before taking up club rugby in Japan until early 2017.
The Force have also signed Olympic gold medallist Masivesi Dakuwaqa, who will return to union after a year with the Canberra Raiders. Dakuwaqa played a key role in Fiji’s momentous first Olympic gold medal – the Rugby Sevens at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Western Force: Aj Alatimu, Chris Alcock, Marcel Brache, Masivesi Dakuwaqa, Rod Davies, Andrew Deegan, Tevin Ferris, Jaque Fourie, Josh Furno, Peter Grant, Chris Heiberg, Rodney Iona, Feleti Kaitu’u, Brad Lacey, Kieran Longbottom, Ryan Louwrens, Cameron Orr, Harrison Orr, Leon Power, Ian Prior, Harry Scoble, Tom Sheminant, Brynard Stander, Elliot Turner, Clay Uyen, Fergus Lee Warner
World Series 2018 fixtures:
4th May v. Fiji
13th May v. Tonga
9th June v. Rebels
22nd June v. Crusaders
13th July v. Samoa
10th Aug v. Hong Kong
17th Aug v. TBC