Western Force v Highlanders - Super Rugby match preview

Last Updated: 25/05/13 10:38am

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Sky Bet

Western Force have named an unchanged squad for a third successive week ahead of Saturday's Super Rugby encounter with the Highlanders in Perth.

Head coach Michael Foley has retained the same starting line-up as the Force seek a first win in five outings.

Foley will hope his side can find just their third win of the campaign in the foot of the table encounter.

In contrast Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph has named seven changes to the side which lost 35-18 to the Bulls last time out.

Props Tony Woodcock and Ma'afu Fia combine with hooker Liam Coltman to form and all-new front row for the Highlanders.

Josh Bekhuis has recovered from a shoulder injury and will join the second row, allowing TJ Ioane to move in at blindside flanker.

In the backs, fly-half Hayden Parker returns to the starting XV which sees Colin Slade demoted to the bench.

Centre Ma'a Nonu takes the number 12 jersey having recovered from a knee injury while Jason Emery starts on the right wing with Toni Nemani set to start on the bench should he be passed fit.

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 (capt), 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.

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Jason Emery, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Hayden Parker, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Mose Tuiali'i, 7 John Hardie, 6 TJ Ioane, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Brad Thorn (capt), 3 Ma'afu Fia, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 Bronson Murray, 18 Joe Wheeler, 19 Elliot Dixon, 20 Fumiaki Tanaka, 21 Colin Slade, 22 Tino Nemani/Trent Renata.

What they said...

Western Force head coach Michael Foley

"Last weekend was one of our better first halves of the season.

"While I'm enormously proud of the character this team has shown and developed over recent months, our challenge is to achieve a more ruthless approach to finishing opportunities."

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