No.8 Ben McCalman will return to the Western Force starting XV when it takes on the Queensland Reds at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday (5 April).
McCalman, who returns from a two-week suspension incurred from his side’s 31-29 win over the Highlanders, has been named at the back of the Force scrum, while Angus Cottrell reverts back to the blindside flank in the only changes to the Force line-up.
The match will mark milestone games for hooker Nathan Charles and flyhalf Sias Ebersohn, who are both set to play their 50th Asteron Life Super Rugby match on Saturday.
Charles records his half-century after originally joining the Western Force as an injury replacement during the 2010 season. After making his debut against the Stormers that year, Charles has since gone on to become the second most-capped hooker for the Force behind inaugural rake Tai McIsaac (52 matches).
Ebersohn reaches the 50-match mark after joining the Western Force as foreign developing player ahead of the 2013 season from the Cheetahs. The left-footed super boot has returned 103 points in his 19 matches for the Western Australian club, contributing to a total of 323 points throughout his Asteron Life Super Rugby career.
Saturday’s encounter will also mark winger Luke Morahan’s first return to Suncorp Stadium since leaving the Queensland Reds to join the Western Force for the 2014 season. Morahan, who played five seasons for the Queenslanders, will again team up with winger Nick Cummins and fullback Jayden Hayward in the Force back three.
Western Force Head Coach Michael Foley says his side is ready to resume its Asteron Life Super Rugby campaign following the bye.
“The bye week has allowed the team to rest and refocus on our next four-match block of the competition,” he said.
“On the back of a lot of hard work by the boys, there’s a growing belief in each other and how we’re playing. Importantly, we’re demonstrating greater composure and resilience when things aren’t going to plan, which is a key characteristic of successful teams.
“This weekend marks Nathan and Sias’ 50th matches. Both players have faced tough challenges over the last 12 months – Nathan recovering from a knee reconstruction and Sias relocating to a new country – and it is a credit to both of them that during that time, they’ve been able to make significant improvements in their performances.”
Queensland Reds v Western Force
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Saturday, 5 April 2014
Kick-off: 6.40pm (local)/4.40pm (AWST)
1. Pek Cowan
2. Nathan Charles
3. Kieran Longbottom
4. Sam Wykes
5. Wilhelm Steenkamp
6. Angus Cottrell
7. Matt Hodgson (c)
8. Ben McCalman
9. Alby Mathewson
10. Sias Ebersohn
11. Nick Cummins
12. Kyle Godwin
13. Solomoni Rasolea
14. Luke Morahan
15. Jayden Hayward
16. Heath Tessmann
17. Tetera Faulkner
18. Ollie Hoskins
19. Adam Coleman
20. Brynard Stander
21. Ian Prior
22. Zack Holmes
23. Marcel Brache
Follow Commentary Box Sports on Social Media!