Planet Rugby

Cowan leads the Force

14th February 2013 07:04

Share:

Pek Cowan on a run for Force

Captain: Pek Cowan

Pek Cowan will captain the new-look Western Force in their Super Rugby season opener against the Melbourne Rebels at AAMI Park on Friday.

Cowan stands in for regular skipper, flanker Matt Hodgson, who has been ruled out of the match.

Cowan becomes the seventh player to lead the Australian province in Super Rugby behind Nathan Sharpe, David Pocock, Brett Sheehan, Brendan Cannon, Scott Staniforth and Matt Giteau.

Cowan leads a squad that features seven players in line to make their debut for the Western Force.

Flanker Chris Alcock will make his debut for the Perth-based side after joining the squad from the Waratahs. He joins a familiar Force forward pack that also includes the return of Sam Wykes (knee) and Ben McCalman (shoulder/broken arm) from lengthy injury layoffs that disrupted their 2012.

The Western Force will run out a new-look backline, featuring a revamped halves pairing of Alby Mathewson and former Waikato fly-half Sam Christie. The Kiwi combination will link with a fresh centre pairing of Kyle Godwin and Winston Stanley, while Alfie Mafi, Patrick Dellit and Will Tupou make up the back three.

"Friday is an exciting opportunity for our new side," Force Head Coach Michael Foley said.

"As the pre-season has progressed, competition for positions has become more intense, which is a tribute to the players' efforts to continually lift the standards within the team.

"A key focus for us this year is to improve on the side's performances from last season and the higher we push our standards, the closer we come to achieving our number one goal of 'earning respect'."

The match provides reserve hooker Heath Tessmann's first opportunity to line up against his former province while replacement backs Mick Snowden, Sias Ebersohn and Junior Rasolea are also in line to make their provincial debut for the Emirates Western Force.

The side will be without Wallaby winger Nick Cummins, who will make his return via the Force 'A' curtain-raiser against Rebel Rising. Cummins sustained a knock to his knee during pre-season training and did not participate in either of the side's pre-season trial matches. Wallaby flanker/lock Hugh McMeniman has also been rested after suffering a minor pectoral strain in the side's 46-0 final trial win over Tonga Select XV last weekend.

Force: 15 Will Tupou, 14 Patrick Dellit, 13 Winston Stanley, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Alfie Mafi, 10 Sam Christie, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Toby Lynn, 4 Sam Wykes, 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pek Cowan (c).
Replacements: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Kieran Longbottom, 18 Phoenix Battye, 19 Richard Brown, 20 Mick Snowden, 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 Junior Rasolea.

Date: Friday, February 15
Venue: AAMI Park,Melbourne
Kick-off: 19.40 (08.40 GMT)
Referee: Angus Gardner

  • Super Rugby Fixtures
  • Super Rugby Results
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Super Rugby
Saturday , August 2
Waratahs 33 - 32 Crusaders
More Super Rugby results
  • Super Rugby Table
Super Rugby Table
PosTeamPPts
1Waratahs1658
2Crusaders1651
3Sharks1650
4Brumbies1645
5Chiefs1644
6Highlanders1642
7Hurricanes1641
8Western Force1640
9Bulls1638
10Blues1637
11Stormers1632
12Lions1631
13Reds1628
14Cheetahs1624
15Melbourne Rebels1621
Australian Conference
Super Rugby Table
PosTeamPPts
1Waratahs1658
2Brumbies1645
3Western Force1640
4Reds1628
5Melbourne Rebels1621
New Zealand Conference
Super Rugby Table
PosTeamPPts
1Crusaders1651
2Chiefs1644
3Highlanders1642
4Hurricanes1641
5Blues1637
South African Conference
Super Rugby Table
PosTeamPPts
1Sharks1650
2Bulls1638
3Stormers1632
4Lions1631
5Cheetahs1624