Western Force v British and Irish Lions - Tour match preview
By Tony Curtis - Follow me on Twitter @SkysportsTC. Last Updated: 05/06/13 10:50am
The British and Irish Lions will be hoping that their return to Western Australia provides them with more of a challenge than their last visit 12 years ago.
Under the guidance of Graham Henry, the Lions kick-started their 2001 tour with a 110-16 rout of their hosts at the WACA.
The Lions ran in 18 tries on that occasion and although the result looked good on paper, it offered little in way of serious preparation for the rigours of a three-Test series against the Wallabies.
The subsequent formation of a Super Rugby franchise in the region means that the standard of opposition should be significantly better this time around - however "should be" are the key words.
Despite the prestige of the fixture, Force head coach Michael Foley has decided to name a largely second string line-up for clash.
The Force will point to the fact that the likes of Matt Hodgson, Richard Brown, Toby Lynn, Sam Norton-Knight, Brett Sheehan and Salesi Ma'afu will all start while Alby Mathewson is on the bench.
However those names aside, there is little in the way of quality in the squad - with Sias Ebersohn, Kyle Godwin, Jayden Hayward, Nick Cummins, Ben McCalman, Chris Alcock, Sam Wykes and Pek Cowan among those rested.
The scheduling of the fixture means that Foley has given priority to the Super Rugby clash with the Waratahs that takes place four days later.
For the Lions, there is little they can do about their opposition's selection policy - and they can only look at stepping up their preparations for the Test series.
Head coach Warren Gatland, as expected, has changed his entire starting XV following the 59-8 rout of the Barbarians in Hong Kong.
Unlike the Force, though, the wholesale changes haven't led to a decrease in quality.
Brian O'Driscoll takes over the captaincy in the absence of Sam Warburton - who remains sidelined alongside Gethin Jenkins and Rob Kearney.
O'Driscoll, the 2005 tour skipper, is joined in the side by fellow Irishmen Tommy Bowe, Jonny Sexton, Conor Murray, Jamie Heaslip, Sean O'Brien, Rory Best and Cian Healy.
The Welsh contingent of Leigh Halfpenny, George North, Ian Evans and Alun-Wyn Jones make their first starts, while Manu Tuilagi, Tom Croft and Dan Cole complete the line-up.
Sean Maitland flies the flag for Scotland on the bench alongside six Englishmen - Tom Youngs, Mako Vunipola, Matt Stevens, Geoff Parling, Ben Youngs and Owen Farrell - and Wales No 8 Toby Faletau.
Western Force: 15 Sam Christie, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Ed Stubbs, 12 Chris Tuatara-Morrison, 11 Corey Brown, 10 Sam Norton-Knight, 9 Brett Sheehan, 8 Richard Brown, 7 Matt Hodgson, 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Phoenix Battye, 4 Toby Lynn, 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 2 James Hilterbrand, 1 Salesi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Sione Kolo, 18 Tim Metcher, 19 Ben Matwijow, 20 Lachlan McCaffrey, 21 Alby Mathewson, 22 Nick Haining, 23 Junior Rasolea.
British and Irish Lions: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Brian O'Driscoll (c), 12 Manu Tuilagi, 11 George North, 10 Jonny Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jamie Heaslip; 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Tom Croft, 5 Ian Evans, 4 Alun-Wyn Jones, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Rory Best, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Matt Stevens, 19 Geoff Parling, 20 Toby Faletau, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Sean Maitland.
Lions v Western Force 2013
Cian Healy's disciplinary hearing to answer a charge of 'biting' an opponent has been delayed until Friday.
England head coach Stuart Lancaster was more than happy to let Alex Corbisiero join the Lions squad in Australia.
British and Irish Lions prop Cian Healy has been cited for an alleged bite during the 69-17 victory over Western Force.
- Force-Lions recap
- Quinnell: Sam under pressure
- Gatland: We need a challenge
- O'Driscoll wants improvement
- Rampant Lions overpower Force
- Woodward: Force a disgrace
- Rowntree: No silliness
- Croft ready to Force the issue
- Rowntree: Test spots undecided
- Warburton boost for Lions
- Bowe hails Gatland approach
- Force name Hodgson captain
- Force 17 Lions 69
- Lions v Force
- Lions ratings
- Kearney a concern for Lions
- O'Driscoll to lead the Lions
- Jones: We relish challenges