Cowan back for the Force against the Hurricanes

The Western Force have named their team to face the Hurricanes will loosehead prop Pek Cowan returning to the starting line up for the team’s first home game of 2015.

Cowan was carried from the field in the club’s opening round match against the NSW Waratahs in Sydney, with scans clearing him of any serious injury.

The match will be the 28-year-old’s 93rd for the Western Force – allowing him to surpass Nathan Sharpe (92 matches) as the second most-capped player for the club.

Matt Hodgson (113 matches) remains the most-capped Western Force player. Lock Steve Mafi has received his first opportunity in the starting XV after two strong performances from the bench, and will replace the injured Adam Coleman (hip) in the second row.

Dynamic back-rower Brynard Stander has also been provided with his first run-on start for 2015, and will start at openside flanker in place of the injured pairing of Matt Hodgson (hamstring) and Chris Alcock (ankle).

In the backline, Zack Holmes will shift from fullback to flyhalf, allowing Luke Burton to start in the ’15’ jersey.

The Force reserves list sees Future Force and Wests Scarborough flanker Kane Koteka in line to make his Super Rugby debut, while Rory Walton returns to the match day 23 for the first time since Round 17 in 2013.

Western Force Head Coach Michael Foley says his side is looking forward to playing its first match of the season on home soil.

“We look forward to every game we play at home in front of our passionate supporters” he said.

“It’s pleasing to have Pek return to the squad, as Friday marks another milestone in his career becoming the second most-capped player in the club’s history.

“It also represents an excellent opportunity for both Steve (Mafi) and Kane (Koteka) in their starting and Super Rugby debuts respectively.

“Steve’s hard work through pre-season has shown in the impact he’s had in the opening two games and Kane has earned a lot of respect through his performances in NRC and this season’s trials.”

Western Force

1. Pekahou Cowan , 2. Nathan Charles , 3. Tetera Faulkner , 4. Sam Wykes (c) , 5. Steve Mafi* , 6. Angus Cottrell , 7. Brynard Stander , 8. Ben McCalman , 9. Alby Mathewson , 10. Zack Holmes , 11. Marcel Brache , 12. Solomoni Jnr Rasolea , 13. Kyle Godwin , 14. Luke Morahan , 15. Luke Burton

Replacements: 16. Heath Tessmann , 17. Chris Heiberg , 18. Oliver Hoskins , 19. Rory Walton , 20. Kane Koteka** , 21. Ian Prior , 22. Sias Ebersohn , 23. Mitchell Scott ,

* denotes Western Force/Super Rugby starting debut
** denotes Western Force/Super Rugby debut

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