It’s back to full Force in Perth

The Western Force will welcome back a host of their top stars – backs Matt Giteau and Matt Henjak, along with forwards Tai McIsaac, Troy Takiari and Matt Hodgson – when they meet the Sharks in their Super 14 Round Nine match at Subiaco Oval in Perth on Friday.

Henjak’s return will see Chris O’Young move to the bench, while Giteau rejoins the team at inside centre, with James Hilgendorf remaining at fly-half.

Giteau’s recall to number 12 means Junior Pelesasa will join the reserves.

Tighthead prop Takiari is also back in the run-on side along with hooker Tai McIsaac and openside flank Hodgson, with Brendan Cannon and David Pocock shifting to the bench.

Versatile back Haig Sare also returns to the 22.

Western Force head coach John Mitchell said the Super 14 competition would only get harder so the Force needed to get better to stay in touch.

“We must have that hunger to improve because we have a tough road ahead, and if we are to continue to have some control over our own destiny, we must make progress,” he said.

“The bonus point win over the Reds was the result of good preparation and patience. But we need that again, and some, if we are to really test the Sharks.”

Mitchell said his players would have to remain focused if they were to succeed against the Sharks.

“The Sharks will look to carry the ball on the fringe of the rucks and mauls but they’ll also play with width,” he said.

“They have some young and exciting backs, and their forwards are the best in the competition, so our pack is looking forward to the challenge.”

Scott Staniforth and David Pusey remain sidelined with injury.

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

Date: Friday, 30 March
Venue: Subiaco Oval, Perth
Kick-off: 19.05 (11.05 GMT)
Referee: Lyndon Bray (New Zealand)
Touch judges: Kelvin Deaker (New Zealand), Dan Cheever (Australia)
Television match official: George Ayoub (Australia)
Assessor: Ian Scotney (Australia), Lusanda Menze (South Africa)


365 Digital 

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