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Cummins to start for Force

03rd May 2013 10:12

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Nick Cummins Western Force v Rebels 2013

Back from injury: Nick Cummins

Wallaby wing Nick Cummins has been included in the Western Force's starting XV for Saturday's clash with the Reds in Perth.

Cummins makes his first appearance since recovering from a knee injury which sidelined him for the past seven matches.

Another Wallaby, scrum-half Brett Sheehan, is in line to play his first match since starting in Australia's 22-19 win over Italy in November.

The 33-year-old, who suffered an ankle injury in the match, is included on the replacements bench and set to play his 89th Super Rugby match.

Former Waratahs midfielder Ben Jacobs will make his first appearance for the Force at outside centre.

Jacobs, who has been part of the side's wider training group, joins the squad on a short-term contract as cover for the injured Winston Stanley and Will Tupou, who both suffered shoulder injuries over the weekend.

Jacobs made 35 appearances for the Waratahs between 2004 and 2008, and has since represented Premiership clubs Saracens (2008-2009) and Wasps (2009-2011), and Japanese club, Kyuden Voltex (2011-2013).

The other changes to the back-line see Sias Ebersohn return to fly-half, while Sam Norton-Knight moves to full-back.

The Force pack has also been reshaped with front-rower Kieran Longbottom replacing Salesi Ma'afu at tighthead prop, while Chris Alcock earns his fourth starting cap of the season at openside flanker.

Alcock's inclusion sees Ben McCalman move to the back of the scrum and captain Matt Hodgson shifts to blindside flanker in his 92nd Super Rugby appearance - equalling the record number of matches played for the Force set by inaugural captain Nathan Sharpe.

Joining Sheehan on the reserves list is Tetera Faulkner - who along with lock Sam Wykes re-signed with the club for a further two years this week, back-rower Richard Brown and backs Junior Rasolea and Jayden Hayward.

Force coach Michael Foley said it's important that the Force responds following last weekend's loss to the Brumbies.

"As a squad, we were disappointed with last week's performance," he said.

"We acknowledge the quality of the Brumbies' play as one of the leading teams in the competition, but felt there were elements of our play we could have controlled much better.

"Ultimately, we pride ourselves on our standards and while we know we're in the process of developing our game, we felt last week was not a true reflection of us individually or as a team.

"This week Nick and Brett return to the side after lay-offs from injury, while Ben will make his return to Super Rugby after a number of years playing overseas.

"They all bring a great deal of experience and will be looking to contribute towards what needs to be a complete team performance on Saturday."

Western Force: 15 Sam Norton-Knight, 14 Patrick Dellit, 13 Ben Jacobs, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Matt Hodgson (c), 5 Sam Wykes, 4 Toby Lynn, 3 Kieran Longbottom, 2 Heath Tessmann, 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacements: 16 James Hilterbrand, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Rory Walton, 19 Richard Brown, 20 Brett Sheehan, 21 Junior Rasolea, 22 Jayden Hayward.

Date: Saturday, May 4
Kick-off: 17:40 local (10:40 BST, 09:40 GMT)
Venue: nib Stadium, Perth
Referee: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Ed Martin (Australia)
Television match official: Peter Marshall (Australia)

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