Western Force coach Tim Sampson will err on the side of caution by starting former Wallabies Kyle Godwin and Greg Holmes on the bench in Saturday’s clash with the NSW Waratahs.

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Godwin and Holmes were forced into quarantine late last month after signing with the Force, and Sampson doesn’t want to increase their risk of injury by playing them for a full game.

“We have included a few of the new signings on the bench for this first outing as we have to be very careful how we manage their workload, given they have been in quarantine for some time,” Sampson said.

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The Rugby Ruckus crew were back live with the Tight Five show as Australian Super rugby returned. Ben Kimber and ex-Wallaby Morgan Turinui host Blues assistant coach Dan Halangahu to discuss the first round of Super Rugby AU.

“There are also a number of Force youngsters who will be getting their first taste of rugby at this level, which will be a great experience for them.”

Prop Pek Cowan is still in quarantine and will miss the clash with NSW at the SCG, while former Reds scrumhalf Nick Frisby was also unavailable.

Former All Blacks lock Jeremy Thrush headlines the Force’s starting line-up, while other familiar faces include Kieran Longbottom, Brynard Stander, Ian Prior, Jono Lance and Marcel Brache.

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The starting line-up also contains plenty of names that will be unfamiliar to most rugby fans in Australia.

Prop Angus Wagner, winger Byron Ralston, flanker Tevin Ferris, inside centre Nick Jooste and fullback Jack McGregor are among the generation next who will be aiming to make a name for themselves in Australia’s new rugby competition.

Saturday’s match marks the Force’s first foray back into Super Rugby ranks since they were controversially axed at the end of 2017.

Force: Jack McGregor, Byron Ralston, Marcel Brache, Nick Jooste, Brad Lacey, Jono Lance, Ian Prior (c), Brynard Stander, Tevin Ferris, Henry Stowers, Fergus Lee-Warner, Jeremy Thrush, Kieran Longbottom, Feleti Kaitu’u, Angus Wagner. Reserves: Andrew Ready, Chris Heiberg, Greg Holmes, Johan Bardoul, Ollie Callen, Jacob Abel, Henry Taefu, Kyle Godwin.

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– Justin Chadwick

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