Rookie flanker to start for Force

Date published: March 19 2015

Flanker Kane Koteka will make his starting debut when the Western Force take on the Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday.

Koteka, the first player to graduate to Super Rugby from the Perth-based franchise's Future Force academy program, will run on for his fourth cap having made his debut against the Hurricanes in Round Three.

The 21-year-old will start as part of a new-look back row alongside blindside flanker Steve Mafi and number eight Ben McCalman.

In the second row, Adam Coleman completes his comeback from a hip injury with his return to the starting XV, packing down alongside captain Sam Wykes.

South African-born playmaker Sias Ebersohn makes his return to the run-on side at fly-half and will start inside the new midfield pairing of Luke Burton (inside centre) and Kyle Godwin (outside centre).

Luke Morahan will resume his place at his at fullback after recovering from a hamstring strain that sidelined him for last week’s match against the Melbourne Rebels.

On the bench, former Bulls lock Wilhelm Steenkamp is set to make his first appearance back at Loftus Versfeld since leaving Pretoria to join the Western Force ahead of the 2014 season.

Prop Guy Millar may be in line for his Asteron Life Super Rugby debut after being bracketed with Oliver Hoskins, while Angus Cottrell will start from the reserves list after missing the past two matches with an ankle injury.

Western Force: 15 Luke Morahan, 14 Marcel Brache, 13 Kyle Godwin, 12 Luke Burton, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Kane Koteka, 6 Steve Mafi, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Sam Wykes (c), 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pekahou Cowan.
Replacements: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Chris Heiberg, 18 Oliver Hoskins/Guy Millar, 19 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 20 Angus Cottrell, 21 Ian Prior, 22 Zack Holmes, 23 Solomoni Jnr Rasolea.

Date: Saturday, March 21
Kick-off: 17:05 local (15.05 GMT, 04.05 NZST, 02.05 AEST)
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Jason Jaftha (South Africa), Pro Legoete (South Africa)
Television match official: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)