Force v Sharks - Super Rugby match preview
Last Updated: 18/05/13 8:08am
Western Force square off against the touring Sharks in Perth as two of this season's strugglers look to get some much-needed points on the board at nib Stadium.
The Perth-based franchise have drawn with the Reds at home, surprised the Crusaders before narrowly losing to last year's champions the Chiefs in recent weeks, but were also handed a heavy 41-7 defeat against the Brumbies.
Meanwhile, The Sharks arrive on a six match losing run knowing that their playoff chances are hanging by a thread.
However, The Force have lost their past five matches against the Sharks, including a 53-11 thumping in Durban last year.
Michael Foley has recalled scrum-half Alby Mathewson to the starting line-up in the only change in the line-up.
John Plumtree's Sharks side cannot afford any more slip-ups and a victory in Perth would provide them with a confidence boost ahead of a double header against the Bulls.
Springbok tighthead prop Jannie du Plessis has been promoted to the starting XV.
The experienced front-row forward has been handed a start in place of in-form youngster Wiehahn Herbst this week.
Other changes to the side see Odwa Ndungane come in for Piet Lindeque on the wing while Willem Alberts replaces Jean Deysel at blindside.
Western Force: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Patrick Dellit, 13 Ben Jacobs, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Matt Hodgson (c), 5 Sam Wykes, 4 Toby Lynn, 3 Kieran Longbottom, 2 Heath Tessmann, 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacements: 16 James Hilterbrand, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Rory Walton, 19 Richard Brown, 20 Brett Sheehan, 21 Junior Rasolea, 22 Sam Norton-Knight.
Sharks: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Keegan Daniel (c), 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Monde Hadebe, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 19 Derick Minnie / Lubabalo Mtembu, 20 Jean Deysel, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Piet Lindeque.
What they said...
Western Force head coach Michael Foley
"The Sharks are very, very hungry," he said. "They're going to be particularly passionate on the back of being accused of there being a divide.
"They play like a lot of other South African sides around the set piece, but more like a NZ side in open play."