Force prepare for Darwin clash
Michael Foley. Picture: Bill Hatto/The West Australian

Western Force have confirmed they will face the Brumbies in Darwin on February 1 and a Tongan Select XV in Mandurah a week later in their two pre-season trials.

It will give fans the first chance to see the new line-up under coach Michael Foley.

The Mandurah game will take place at the Meadow Springs Sporting Ground and the visiting side will be made up of players not under Super Rugby contracts, who are eligible for Tonga and are Australia, New Zealand or Tonga based.

Foley said both matches would provide a stern test.

"I've been pleased with the progress of our pre-season and these trials will provide a strong finish to our preparations ahead of our first Super game against the Rebels," he said.

"The Brumbies were one of the benchmark Australian sides last year and this is a good chance for us to test ourselves and our systems against one of the better performing teams of 2012.

"Likewise, the Tongan side will provide a solid final hit-out and no doubt a big physical challenge prior to our first game.

"I cannot fault the efforts of this squad during the pre-season and it's important that we maintain the standards we've set into the trials and the start of the Super Rugby season."

A warm-up game will be played in Mandurah between a Force A side and a Perth Kiwi team of players of New Zealand origin playing in the RugbyWA Premier Grade.

They will play for the Mike Denton Cup, named after New Zealand-born Nedlands, Force A and Perth Gold fly-half Michael Denton, who tragically died while on holiday in Bali in 2011.

Tickets for the Mandurah game are limited and must be pre-purchased via www.ticketbooth.com.au .

Fixtures:

Friday, February 1: ACT Brumbies v Western Force - Marrara Rugby Oval, Darwin. Kick-off: 7.30pm.

Friday, February 8: Western Force v Tonga Select XV - Meadow Springs Sporting Ground, Meadow Springs. Kick-off: 7pm. The warm-up game kicks off at 5.30pm.

The West Australian

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