Planet Rugby

McCalman returns for Western Force

03rd April 2014 06:59

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Ben McCalman of the Force

Back at eight: Ben McCalman

Western Force number eight Ben McCalman returns to the Perth-based outfit's starting XV for Saturday's clash with the Reds in Brisbane.

McCalman, who returns from a two-week suspension incurred from his side's 31-29 win over the Highlanders, has been named at the back of the Force scrum, while Angus Cottrell reverts back to the blindside flank in the only changes to the Force line-up.

The match will mark milestone games for hooker Nathan Charles and fly-half Sias Ebersohn, who are both set to play their 50th Super Rugby match on Saturday.

Charles records his half-century after originally joining the Western Force as an injury replacement during the 2010 season. After making his debut against the Stormers that year, Charles has since gone on to become the second most-capped hooker for the Force behind inaugural rake Tai McIsaac (52 matches).

Ebersohn reaches the 50-match mark after joining the Western Force as foreign developing player ahead of the 2013 season from the Cheetahs. He has returned 103 points in his 19 matches for the Western Australian club, contributing to a total of 323 points throughout his Super Rugby career.

Saturday's encounter will also mark right wing Luke Morahan's first return to Suncorp Stadium since leaving the Reds to join the Western Force for the 2014 season. Morahan, who played five seasons for the Queenslanders, will again team up with left wing Nick Cummins and full-back Jayden Hayward in the Force back three.

Western Force boss Michael Foley says his side is ready to resume its campaign following a bye.

"The bye week has allowed the team to rest and refocus on our next four-match block of the competition," he said.

"On the back of a lot of hard work by the boys, there's a growing belief in each other and how we're playing. Importantly, we're demonstrating greater composure and resilience when things aren't going to plan, which is a key characteristic of successful teams.

"This weekend marks Nathan and Sias' 50th matches. Both players have faced tough challenges over the last 12 months - Nathan recovering from a knee reconstruction and Sias relocating to a new country - and it is a credit to both of them that during that time, they've been able to make significant improvements in their performances."

Western Force: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Solomoni Rasolea, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Matt Hodgson (c), 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 4 Sam Wykes, 3 Kieran Longbottom, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacements: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Ollie Hoskins, 19 Adam Coleman, 20 Brynard Stander, 21 Ian Prior, 22 Zack Holmes, 23 Marcel Brache.

Date: Saturday, April 5
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-off: 18.40 local (08.40 GMT)
Referee: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: James Leckie (Australia), Ian Smith (Australia)
Television match official: Steve Leszczynski (Australia)

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