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Junior Wallabies phenomenon to debut for Western Force against Reds

By Finn Morton
Ronan Leahy of Australia in action during The Rugby Championship U20 Round 2 match between Australia and South Africa at Sunshine Coast Stadium on May 07, 2024 in Sunshine Coast, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

Junior Wallabies vice-captain Ronan Leahy will debut for the Force on Saturday evening as the men from out west look to potentially jump into a playoff spot with a win over the Reds.

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The Western Force have turned their season around as of late, which has included a 27-7 win over the Waratahs and a dominant 48-10 win over eighth-placed Fijian Drua.

But both of those wins were at home. The Perth-based side will head across Australia to the east coast for their next test, with the Force set to go head-to-head with the Reds in Brisbane.

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In one of the upsets of the season, the Force shocked the Reds by nine points at Perth’s HBF Park the last time these two sides met. The Reds were in impressive form before that match.

But that was then and this is now.

Even if they win, they’ll still need the Highlanders to beat the Drua on Sunday to remain in the top eight.

20-year-old backline utility Ronna Leahy will debut as the only change to a settled Force side this week. Leahy was named in the Team of the Tournament at the recent Rugby Championship U20 on the Sunshine Coast.

Leahy scored two tries during the Force’s two pre-season games earlier this year.

Harry Hoopert, Tom Horton, Santiago Medrano, captain Jeremy Williams and Wallaby Izack Rodda make up the tight five.

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The backrow trio consists of tackling machines Will Harris, Carlo Tizzano and former Maori All Black Reed Prinsep.

Head-to-Head

Last 5 Meetings

Wins
4
Draws
0
Wins
1
Average Points scored
44
21
First try wins
80%
Home team wins
60%

Wallabies Nic White and Ben Donaldson will combine in the halves once again, while veteran Kurtley Beale is another playmaking option out the back in the No. 15 jumper.

Hamish Stewart and Bayley Kuenzle are the centre pairing, while Leahy and George Poolman are the two wingers.

Western Force to take on Queensland Reds

  1. Harry Hoopert
  2. Tom Horton
  3. Santiago Medrano
  4. Jeremy Williams (c)
  5. Izack Rodda
  6. Will Harris
  7. Carlo Tizzano
  8. Reed Prinsep
  9. Nic White
  10. Ben Donaldson
  11. Ronan Leahy
  12. Hamish Stewart
  13. Bayley Kuenzle
  14. George Poolman
  15. Kurtley Beale

Replacements

  1. Feleti Kaitu’u
  2. Marley Pearce
  3. Tiaan Tauakipulu
  4. Lopeti Faifua
  5. Michael Wells
  6. Issak Fines-Leleiwasa
  7. Sam Spink
  8. Chase Tiatia
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