Lock Hugh McMeniman and flanker Chris Alcock have returned to the starting XV for the Western Force’s clash against the Brumbies at the ‘Force Field’ (nib Stadium) this Saturday night (1 March).
McMeniman’s selection in the starting line-up completes his return from a shoulder injury that sidelined him for the second half of 2013. McMeniman will pack down alongside Sam Wykes on Saturday.
Alcock, who, along with Alby Mathewson, was one of only two players to play each match for the Force in 2013, will join captain Matt Hodgson and No.8 Ben McCalman in the back row.
The Force will field an identical backline to last weekend, including Nick Cummins on the wing and Kyle Godwin at inside centre, who each crossed for the Force’s two tries against the Waratahs.
The changes to the Western Force bench see lock Wilhelm Steenkamp and flanker Angus Cottrell start from the reserves list, while Jayden Hayward returns to the match day squad after scoring 24 points in Force A’s 29-23 win over Reds A in last Friday’s Pacific Rugby Cup opener.
Flyhalf Zack Holmes and reserve scrumhalf Ian Prior will line up against their former club for the first time since joining the Western Force.
Western Force Head Coach Michael Foley says his team is looking forward to playing in front of the ‘Sea of Blue’ for the first time in 2014.
“While we were disappointed with aspects of last week’s game, the upside is we have control of how we deliver in those areas in the future,” he said.
“Some of our discipline to system let us down, but the boys individually showed great spirit to still be in the fight at the 65th-minute mark.
“We’re looking forward to playing at home in front of our supporters for the first time this season and above all else, our goal is to harness the individual fighting spirit into an 80-minute team performance.”
The Western Force will celebrate its opening home match of the season by staging a welcome for its supporters from the Claisebrook Train Station and on arrival at the ‘Force Field’ (nib Stadium).
Saturday’s match will be preceded by a curtain-raiser between Force A and Junior Japan in the IRB Pacific Rugby Cup.
Western Force v Brumbies
The ‘Force Field’ (nib Stadium), Perth
Saturday, 1 March 2014
1. Tetera Faulkner
2. Nathan Charles
3. Kieran Longbottom
4. Sam Wykes
5. Hugh McMeniman
6. Chris Alcock
7. Matt Hodgson (c)
8. Ben McCalman
9. Alby Mathewson
10. Zack Holmes
11. Nick Cummins
12. Kyle Godwin
13. Junior Rasolea
14. Patrick Dellit
15. Luke Morahan
16. Heath Tessmann
17. Pek Cowan
18. Ollie Hoskins
19. Wilhelm Steenkamp
20. Angus Cottrell
21. Ian Prior
22. Sias Ebersohn
23. Jayden Hayward