Force hand Louwrens first start

Date published: April 30 2015

Scrum-half Ryan Louwrens will make his Super Rugby run-on debut when the Western Force takes on the Blues at Eden Park.

The 24-year-old Cottesloe half made an impressive tournament debut against the Chiefs in Hamilton last weekend, and will wear the nine jersey in place of the injured Alby Mathewson (knee) and Ian Prior, who is serving a three-week suspension.

Louwrens' promotion is the only change to the starting XV, while lock Adam Coleman has been bracketed with Wilhelm Steenkamp after sustaining a knock to his shoulder against the Chiefs.

On the bench, Associates scrum-half Justin Turner has been recalled to the Western Force squad following his strong form in the Pindan Premier Grade.

Turner has previously played 11 matches with the Western Australian club, after being a member of the senior squad between 2009 and 2012, before returning to the club's Wider Training Group last year after a series of knee injuries.

Prop Guy Millar, a member of the Force's Wider Training Group, is set to make his Super Rugby debut from the bench, replacing Oliver Hoskins, who has succumbed to an ankle injury, while Ross Haylett-Petty has been listed for a potential return to the squad from the bench.

Head coach Michael Foley says Louwrens' run-on debut is a testament to his perseverance after returning from a knee reconstruction in 2014.

"This week is a great opportunity for Ryan," he said. "After missing the majority of last season with a knee injury, he was thrown in the deep end against the Chiefs. In challenging circumstances, he performed with exceptional composure, which will give him confidence to rip in again this week.

"There was some good improvement in our ability to identify and take opportunities against the Chiefs. This week we take on an experienced Blues side that contains a number of dangerous ball runners. To that end, while maintaining our attack is a focus, our defence will be the foundation of a good performance."

Force: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Kyle Godwin, 12 Luke Burton, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Ryan Louwrens, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Matt Hodgson (c), 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Adam Coleman/Wilhelm Steenkamp, 4 Steve Mafi, 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pekahou Cowan.
Replacements: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Chris Heiberg, 18 Guy Millar, 19 Wilhelm Steenkamp/Ross Haylett-Petty, 20 Kane Koteka, 21 Justin Turner, 22 Marcel Brache, 23 Junior Rasolea

Date: Saturday, May 2
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 17:30 local (05:30 GMT, 15:30 AEST, 07:30 SAST)
Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Nick Briant (New Zealand), Paul Williams (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)