Hodgson to win 100th Force cap against Rebels

The Western Force have named captain Matt Hodgson to become the first player to represent the franchis in 100 Super Rugby matches when they host the Rebels at the ‘Force Field’ (nib Stadium) on Saturday.

Hodgson started at openside flanker in the Force’s inaugural match against the Brumbies in 2006, and has played in 99 of the club’s 115 matches over the past nine seasons.

Western Force Head Coach Michael Foley says his team is focused on a performance worthy of such an achievement.

“Saturday is significant and fitting milestone for Matt and his family,” he said. “The commitment Matt has made to the club over its relatively brief history has earnt him the respect of every member of the Force family.

“Our focus is to be stronger from the start of the match. While we’ve identified the things that are costing us, the challenge is to ensure we nail those areas for Matt and our supporters on Saturday night “

Hodgson will be joined in the back row by No.8 Ben McCalman and Angus Cottrell, who replaces Chris Alcock after the flanker was omitted as a precaution due to a shoulder complaint.

Lock Wilhelm Steenkamp returns to the starting XV in place of Hugh McMeniman, who is recovering from a back injury sustained last weekend, while prop Pek Cowan has also worked his way back into the run-on front row.

In the backline, Jayden Hayward has been reinstated at fullback after scoring a try off the bench in last weekend’s match against the Brumbies. This followed up from his 24-point haul in Force A’s 29-23 win over Reds A in their opening Pacific Rugby Cup match a fortnight ago.

Hayward’s inclusion at fullback sees Luke Morahan start from the wing, while Sias Ebersohn also returns to the run-on side at flyhalf.

On the bench, hooker Heath Tessmann will suit up against his former Rebels teammates, while lock Adam Coleman and outside back Marcel Brache are in line to make their debut for the Western Force, having each previously made one Super Rugby appearance for the NSW Waratahs and Stormers respectively.

Back-rower Brynard Stander returns to the line-up after recovering from a head knock suffered during the side’s opening round match against the Waratahs.

Western Force

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. Junior Rasolea,14. Luke Morahan ,15. Jayden Hayward

Replacements :16. Heath Tessmann,17. Tetera Faulkner ,18. Ollie Hoskins,19. Adam Coleman,20. Brynard Stander,21. Ian Prior,22. Zack Holmes ,23. Marcel Brache

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