Cannon to play 100th Super rugby match against Bulls

Veteran hooker Brendan Cannon will celebrate his 100th game of Super rugby when the Emirates Western Force play the Bulls in Pretoria on Friday. Cannon will become only the 14th player in the competition’s history to notch a century of Super rugby games, having retained his position as starting hooker for the match.

The only change to the side which beat the Stormers in Cape Town last week is the omission of Scott Fava, due to a breach of team protocol.

He is replaced in the squad by Matt Hodgson, who will start at openside flanker, with Richard Brown moving to No. 8.

Cannon, who was the first player to sign with the Emirates Western Force, began his Super rugby career in 1996 with the Reds, and went on to play the bulk of his matches with the Waratahs. The Bulls clash will represent his 12th Super cap for the Force.

Hodgson returns to the 22 for the first time this year, having missed only one match last season.

Emirates Western Force head coach John Mitchell said he was pleased with aspects of the team’s performance last Friday but the players would need to step to another level in their focus and mental commitment against the Bulls.

“There’s no doubt these young men have the footballing ability. What they need to improve is their execution of game plan and keep their concentration for the full 80 minutes,” he said.

“Last week, I believe we got off the mark with attitude and delivery. It’s important that we maintain that momentum and keep progressing.”

Mitchell said the Bulls were a formidable force, particularly in Pretoria, with one of the biggest packs in the game and one of the best line-out jumpers in Victor Matfield.

“But there lies our opportunity, and we intend to give it a good crack.”

The squad is: 1. Gareth Hardy 2. Brendan Cannon 3. Troy Takiari 4. Rudi Vedelago 5. Nathan Sharpe (c) 6. David Pusey 7. Matt Hodgson 8. Richard Brown 9. Matt Henjak 10. Matt Giteau 11. Cameron Shepherd 12. Junior Pelesasa 13. Ryan Cross 14. Scott Staniforth 15. Drew Mitchell 16. Tai McIsaac 17. Angus Scott 18. Luke Doherty 19. David Pocock 20. Chris O’Young 21. Scott Daruda 22. Haig Sare

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