The strength of local rugby will be given a true test tomorrow with 16 club players chosen in the Perth Sprit squad that opens its National Rugby Championship campaign against Canberra Vikings.

Western Force second-rower Rory Walton will captain the team that also has seven Force players with Super Rugby experience for the clash in Canberra.

Coach David Wessels, who is also Western Force assistant coach and was responsible for the side's much-improved defence last season, said they would use very similar game plans as the Force.

"What we did in Super Rugby worked for us and this gives us the opportunity to expand on that. You'll see us move our game forward but not too far from what has worked over the Super season," Wessels said.

"Similarly, I think that what you will see in the Vikings will be a flow-on from the Brumbies.

"The Vikings have recruited a number of Super and Wallabies players. Our guys are pretty excited about that and the competition will benefit from that.

"There are a number of guys who have come through our academy and who have trained with us all season."

Walton said the side was excited about the opportunities the new competition would provide.

"For guys like me that are on the fringe this is massive for us to show what we can do," he said.


The West Australian

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