The Force have named their side to face the Crusaders on Saturday, with Sam Norton-Knight handed the fly-half jersey in Perth.
Western Force have named their side to face the Crusaders on Saturday, with Sam Norton-Knight handed the fly-half shirt at nib Stadium in Perth.
Norton-Knight, who wore the Wallabies ten jersey in 2007, will make his starting debut for the side as one of seven new faces in the Force's XV after two strong performances off the bench against the Waratahs and Rebels.
The 29-year-old has been selected in a reshaped backline with Junior Rasolea, who will start in the midfield alongside Kyle Godwin; while Jayden Hayward will also make his first run-on appearance at full-back, forming a new-look back three with in-form winger Alfie Mafi and Force debutante Ed Stubbs.
Hayward, Rasolea and Stubbs have worked their way into the Force line-up, culminating in strong performances in Sunday's opening round of the Pindan Premier Grade.
Prop Pek Cowan and number eight Richard Brown will make a planned return to the Force pack while Sam Wykes has been rewarded for his form following his return from a knee reconstruction last season and will replace the injured Hugh McMeniman (shoulder) in the second-row.
Lock or flanker Rory Walton is in line to make his Super Rugby debut via the bench on Saturday. Walton, who represented Wanneroo in the weekend's Pindan Premier Grade season opener, is joined on the reserves list by fellow forwards Ben Whittaker, Tetera Faulkner and Chris Alcock. Mick Snowden, Sias Ebersohn and Patrick Dellit will provide coverage for the Force backline.
“How we play needs to better reflect the respect we have for one another, which had been a feature of our preparation and performances to date,” Western Force head coach Michael Foley said.
“A number of players have earned their selection in the starting XV this weekend and we're looking forward to them taking their opportunity as part of the match 22.”
Force: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Alfie Mafi, 13 Junior Rasolea, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Ed Stubbs, 10 Sam Norton-Knight, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Richard Brown, 7 Matt Hodgson (c), 6 Ben McCalman, 5 Sam Wykes, 4 Toby Lynn, 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 2 Heath Tessmann, 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacements: 16 Ben Whittaker, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Rory Walton, 19 Chris Alcock, 20 Mick Snowden, 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 Patrick Dellit.
Date: Saturday, April 13
Venue: nib Stadium, Perth
Kick-off: 19.45 (11.45 GMT)
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)