Wessels shuffles Force forward pack

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Western Force coach Dave Wessels hopes a re-shuffled forward pack will give his backs plenty of clean ball when they take on the Queensland Reds on Thursday night.

The Force were up to the challenge at the breakdown in their 19-13 loss against the Waratahs but Wessels has made several changes to his forward pack.

New recruit Ben Daley will get his first start in place of Pek Cowan, while the shuffle of the back five in the scrum will see Matt Philip start at lock, Ross Haylett-Petty move to blindside flanker and Brynard Stander shift to Number 8, with Richard Hardwick relegated to the bench.

Wessels has not made any changes to the backline which was severely hampered by slippery conditions at Allianz Stadium last Saturday.Matt Philip will get his first start at lock on Thursday night. Photo: Western Force Media"We felt that we were good in a number of areas of the game last Saturday, but we were disappointed that we didn’t win the game," Wessels said.

"So, what we’re looking to do this week, in hopefully better conditions, is be able to show more of what we’ve been working on from an attack perspective."

Wessels also implored fans to turn out on Thursday night as the Force's future hangs in the balance.

Ben Daley gets the nod at loosehead prop ahead of Pek Cowan. Photo: Getty Images"We’re very excited to play in front of our home crowd for the first time this season, and I think there’s a rallying call for West Australians, that if you love rugby and if you want to see Super Rugby continue in this state, whether you support the Force or not, you need to come on Thursday night," he said.

"More than that, we’d like you to bring a mate, it’s really important that we show through our numbers at this game that we want to keep professional rugby in Western Australia.”

TEAM

Western Force team to take on the Queensland Reds at nib Stadium

1. Ben Daley

2. Heath Tessmann (C)

3. Jermaine Ainsley

4. Matt Philip

5. Adam Coleman

6. Ross Haylett-Petty

7. Kane Koteka

8. Brynard Stander

9. Ryan Louwrens

10. Jono Lance

11. Chance Peni

12. Billy Meakes

13. Curtis Rona

14. Luke Morahan

15. Dane Haylett-Petty

Reserves

16. Tatafu Polota-Nau

17. Pek Cowan

18. Tetera Faulkner

19. Richard Hardwick

20. Isi Naisarani

21. Michael Ruru

22. Ian Prior

23. Alex Newsome

The Force take on the Reds on Thursday, kicking off at 9:30pm AEDT, broadcast live on Fox Sports Channel 501.

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