Force name unchanged team to play Highlanders

Unsurprisingly after their comprehensive victory over the Rebels last week the Western Force have named an unchanged team for this week’s match against the Highlanders in Dunedin.

The Force will run out on Saturday the identical 23-man line-up that defeated the Melbourne Rebels 32-7 in Perth last weekend.

It is the first time the Force has named the same squad in consecutive weeks since its Round 15 win over the Highlanders in 2013.

Winger Luke Morahan is in line to play his 50th Super Rugby match, after joining the Force from the Queensland Reds this season. The express-paced outside back – who forms a back three with Wallabies winger Nick Cummins and former Highlanders back, Jayden Hayward – crossed for his side’s second of four tries in the opening 27 minutes against the Rebels.

Western Force Head Coach Michael Foley says it’s important for his side to make another early statement against the Highlanders.

“Our focus was to start the match strongly last weekend and it was pleasing to see the team do exactly that,” he said.

“Our second half execution wasn’t as precise. This week it’s important for us to back up with another strong start and look to improve on our execution into the second half.”

Matt Hodgson, who led the side out for his 100th Super Rugby cap last weekend, will again captain the side, packing down in the back row alongside in-form No.8 Ben McCalman and flanker Angus Cottrell, who crossed for his second Super Rugby try last weekend.

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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