Hugh McMeniman will make his return from a shoulder injury on the flank for the Western Force in Sunday's clash with the Waratahs.
Hugh McMeniman will make his return from a shoulder injury on the flank for the Western Force in Sunday's clash with the Waratahs at nib Stadium.
McMeniman suffered a fracture to his shoulder during the side's Week Eight clash against the Melbourne Rebels in Perth, with Sunday's match marking his first game in nine weeks.
The 29-year-old will make his comeback at blindside flanker as part of a revamped Western Australian forward pack that features lock Rory Walton's run-on debut and Angus Cottrell's return to the starting side at number eight. Cottrell replaces Ben McCalman, who was called into the Wallabies squad for the Test series against the British and Irish Lions.
Loosehead prop Pek Cowan will again assume the captaincy of the side, with Matt Hodgson starting off the bench after leading the side against the British and Irish Lions on Wednesday. Sunday's match will be the fourth time Cowan has led the side having previously skippered against the Rebels in Melbourne, Reds in Brisbane and the Cheetahs in Perth this season.
The Force has retained the same backline that helped defeat the Highlanders, 19-18, in their last Super Rugby outing, with the exception of Junior Rasolea, who earns his opportunity on the wing in place of Wallaby squad member, Nick Cummins.
The bench features seven members of the starting XV from Wednesday's match against the Lions.
“This week has been a big week for the squad and the organisation and we're looking to finish it well against NSW tomorrow,” Head Coach Michael Foley said.
“We've continued take big steps as a team this season and it's important that we put together a strong performance leading into the mid-year break.
“We were pleased with our ability to hold a dangerous Highlanders try-less and that will again need to be a feature of our performance against a strong Waratahs outfit.
“It's great to have Hugh back, who has made such a big contribution to this side this season, and it's a much deserved opportunity for Rory Walton, who receives his first start in the run-on side after seven consistent performances off the bench.”
Western Force: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Patrick Dellit, 13 Ben Jacobs, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Junior Rasolea, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Angus Cottrell, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Hugh McMeniman, 5 Sam Wykes, 4 Rory Walton, 3 Kieran Longbottom, 2 Heath Tessmann, 1 Pek Cowan (c).
Replacements: 16 James Hilterbrand, 17 Salesi Ma'afu, 18 Toby Lynn, 19 Matt Hodgson, 20 Brett Sheehan, 21 Ed Stubbs, 22 Sam Norton-Knight.
Date: Sunday, June 9
Kick-off: 14:05 (06:05 GMT)
Venue: nib Stadium, Perth
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)