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Super Rugby, Waratahs vs Western Force LIVE: Force have ‘point to prove’ on ‘surreal’ return – Fox Sports

Super Rugby AU, Western Force vs NSW Waratahs at Sydney Cricket Ground (7.15pm EST) — Three years after being controversially dumped from Super Rugby, Western Force are making a “surreal” return to the top-flight against a team they thrashed in their f…



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After a first-round bye last weekend, they have kicked off at the SCG against the NSW Waratahs, a team they hammered 40-11 in their final Super Rugby match in 2017.
Scrum-half Ian Prior, who played that game and is now the Force captain, called Saturdays match in Sydney a huge moment.
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MATCH CENTRE: NSW Waratahs vs Western Force
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Were not coming just to compete, were coming to win games, Prior said.
The Waratahs have entered the clash on the back of 32-26 defeat by the Reds in their opening game last weekend – a first loss to their arch rivals in 12 attempts.
NSW is unchanged for the clash against the Force.
After 60 minutes, the Force lead 14-13 thanks to a corner try from Byron Ralston in the 29th and three penalty goals from Prior.
The Waratahs responded on the half time hooter with a try from Angus Bell, while Will Harrison has kicked two penalty goals in the second half.
NSW Waratahs: 1. Angus Bell 2. Robbie Abel 3. Harry Johnson-Holmes 4. Ned Hanigan 5. Rob Simmons (c) 6. Lachlan Swinton 7. Michael Hooper 8. Will Harris 9. Mitch Short 10. Will Harrison 11. Mark Nawaqanitawase 12. Joey Walton 13. Alex Newsome (vc) 14. James Ramm 15. Jack Maddocks 16. Tom Horton 17. Tetera Faulkner 18. Tiaan Tauakipulu 19. Tom Staniforth 20. Jack Dempsey 21. Michael McDonald 22. Ben Donaldson/Tepai Moeroa 23. Karmichael Hunt
Western Force: 1. Angus Wagner 2. Feleti Kaituu 3. Kieran Longbottom 4. Jeremy Thrush 5. Fergus Lee-Warner 6. Henry Stowers 7. Tevin Ferris 8. Brynard Stander 9. Ian Prior (c) 10. Jono Lance 11. Brad Lacey 12. Nick Jooste 13. Marcel Brache 14. Byron Ralston 15. Jack McGregor 16. Andrew Ready 17. Chris Heiberg 18. Greg Holmes 19. Johan Bardoul 20. Ollie Callan 21. Jacob Abel 22. Henry Taefu 23. Kyle Goodwin
The Perth club were seen as surplus to requirements when governing body SANZAAR decided to reduce the unwieldily, globetrotting competition from an 18-team model to 15 for the 2018 season.
The move sparked anger from supporters and backers and a legal battle which ultimately proved unsuccessful.
But they survived as a team after Australian mining billionaire Andrew Twiggy Forrest came to their rescue and splashed the cash, setting up a six-team Asia-Pacific Global Rapid Rugby competition.
The Force won it last year before adding a domestic National Rugby Championship crown, showing their desire to win.
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But Super Rugby AU is a step up and they are seen as underdogs after being invited back to ensure a five-team format.
Western Force have been aggressive in their recruitment, bolstered by former Wallabies duo Greg Holmes joining after a four-year stint with Exeter, and Kyle Godwin from Irish side Connacht.
They have also hired experienced back Jono Lance, who won Super Rugby titles with the Waratahs and Queensland Reds, and have ex-All Blacks lock Jeremy Thrush on board.
In terms of those new signings, theyre all quality players that bring a lot of experience there, said Prior.
New Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has made it clear those taking part in Super Rugby AU can make a case for consideration in his first Australia squad — a big motivation for the Force players who still harbour dreams of playing for their country.
I think different people around Australia are going to have those chips on their shoulder with a point to prove particularly with a new Wallabies coach on board, Prior said.
Itll be surreal lining up against the Waratahs come round two, game one for us, he added. I just cant wait for it to come around, to be honest.

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