Keo.co.za brings you the latest news from Australia.
Force flay Reds
The Force secured a comprehensive 31-12 win over the Reds in Perth on Friday.
In both sides’ third and last warm-up, the Force were full value for their win after they led 20-0 early in the match. Matt Hodgson, Richard Brown and Sam Harris scored for the hosts, with James O’Connor handling the kicking duties.
Rod Davies and Will Genia replied for the Reds.
Tighthead boost for Brumbies
Ben Alexander has recovered from a hand injury and will be ready for the Brumbies’ opening game against the Force.
Initially, Alexander was expected to be sidelined until the second game of the competition, but reports from Down Under confirm the Wallabies No 3 is fit to play.
‘We’ve just got to be a little bit careful with him next week with contact, but he should be right to play,’ said coach Andy Friend.
Flyhalf Matt Giteau is still 50-50 due to his troublesome quad, but flank Rocky Elsom is expected to feature after overcoming a hamstring injury.
O’Connor set for dual role
John Mitchell says James O’Connor will cover inside centre and fullback for the Western Force this season.
O’Connor had a successful start to his Wallabies career last season, but was exposed at fullback, notably in the fourth Bledisloe Cup Test against the All Blacks in November.
Head coach Mitchell confirmed O’Connor will continue at fullback for the Force and will also slot in at inside centre.
There have been talks of playing O’Connor at flyhalf, but Mitchell said he won’t really consider it as they have depth in André Pretorius, Mark Bartholomeusz, Sam Harris and Stefano Hunt.
‘James might only feature at flyhalf in terms of development, as we are looking at him to play primarily at 15 and 12,’ Mitchell told rugbyheaven.com.au
This thread will be updated throughout the course of the day…