Planet Rugby

The British & Irish Lions


Force rest key players for Lions

04th June 2013 06:38


Matt Hodgson Western Force SR 2012

Matt Hodgson: One of five Test players in the starting XV

Western Force coach Michael Foley has named five Test players in their starting XV for Wednesday's historic tour match against the British and Irish Lions in Perth.

Flanker Matt Hodgson will captain the side in a starting line-up that also features Wallaby front-rower Salesi Ma'afu, number eight Richard Brown, scrum-half Brett Sheehan and fly-half Sam Norton-Knight.

Ex-All Black Alby Mathewson will start from the bench and provide cover at scrum-half.

The players represent six of the most experienced players within the Western Force squad, with a combined total of 510 Super Rugby caps between them.

The Western Force return to action four days later for their Round 17 Super Rugby fixture against the Waratahs at nib Stadium and some of their regulars will not see action against the Lions.

Foley believes the tight schedule is a unique challenge but provides an exciting opportunity for his players.

"The British and Irish Lions tour represents a special occasion for the players involved and everyone was keen to put their hands up for selection," he said.

"From the outset we recognised the need to approach this week as an entire squad.

"To that end, every available member of our squad, a number from our wider training group, and club players from Perth and elsewhere will get opportunities against the Lions and Waratahs.

"We've included some of our most experienced players to provide leadership against a Lions squad we have a great deal of respect for.

"The effort in training over the past week has shown how much Wednesday's match means to this squad and they'll be determined against many of the best international players from the Northern Hemisphere."

Joining Ma'afu in the front row is former Australian U20 prop Salesi Manu and James Hilterbrand, who has been part of the Force's matchday 22 for their past six Super Rugby matches.

Super Rugby veteran Toby Lynn and Phoenix Battye will pack down at lock, while Angus Cottrell, who has started seven matches at blindside flanker for the Force this season, has been named with Hodgson and Brown in the back row.

On the right wing Dane Haylett-Petty, who played nine Super Rugby matches for the Force between 2008 and 2010, will return to join the Western Australian side, having represented French club, Biarritz, since 2010.

He will be joined in the back three by Sam Christie, who started at fly-half in the Force's opening two matches of the 2013 Super Rugby season, and fellow wing Corey Brown, who was a member of the Force's wider training group and leading try-scorer in the 2012 Shute Shield competition.

Western Force squad members Chris Tuatara-Morrison and ex-Australian Sevens representative Ed Stubbs will make up the midfield.

The Force have included Nick Haining on the bench, while former IRB Junior World Championship front-rowers Hugh Roach (Australia), Tim Metcher (Australia) and Sione Kolo (Fiji) will receive their first opportunities with the Western Australian side.

Wider training group member,lock Ben Matwijow, Force back-rower Lachlan McCaffrey and wing Junior Rasolea have also been selected on the reserves list.

The last time a Western Australian side faced the British and Irish Lions was during the 2001 visit, with the tourists claiming a comprehensive 116-10 win at the WACA.

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.

Date: Wednesday, June 5
Venue: Patersons Stadium, Perth
Kick-off: 18.00 (11.00 GMT)
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Garratt Williamson (New Zealand)
Television match official: tba (New Zealand)