Force roll out reinforcements

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Force coach Dave Wessels has rolled out reinforcements for Saturday's clash with the Blues.

Wallabies star Dane Haylett-Petty headlines the six changes in the starting XV after medical staff took a cautious approach to his niggling groin injury last week.

In the forwards, Richie Arnold gets his first start after making his Super Rugby debut last week, Tetera Faulkner starts in place of the injured Jermaine Ainsley and Matt Hodgson returns to his customary role as starting openside flanker.

Bill Meakes returns from an ankle injury to start at inside centre, while Marchel Brache will don the number 13 jersey in place of Curtis Rona, who picked up a head knock against the Crusaders.Matt Hodgson is back in the starting XV. Photo: WalmsleyQueensland product Shambeckler Vui is a chance to earn his Super Rugby debut, having been named on the bench.

Luke Morahan has been left out of the side, after a slow start to the year, with Haylett-Petty's return and the form of youngster Alex Newsome and Chance Peni keeping him out.

Wessels was disappointed with his team's performance against the Crusaders and said the Blues clash provides an opportunity for the team to redeem themselves.

“We know that to turn around the outcome of last week we need to be a lot better in a number of key areas – not least our defence," he said.

"It’s great to have the experience of Dane, Billy and ‘Hodgo’ back in the side this week.

"The boys have trained really hard this week under difficult circumstances and I couldn’t be more proud to be part of this team.”

It was a big day for the Force, who announced a two-year extension of their Fortescue sponsorship, despite rumours they could be on the Super Rugby chopping block, with a decision on the competition's format from next season imminent.


IN: Dane Haylett-Petty, Bill Meakes, Shambeckler Vui

OUT: Luke Morahan , Curtis Rona (concussion), Heath Tessman

Force team to take on the Blues

1. Ben Daley

2. Tatafu Polota-Nau

3. Tetera Faulkner

4. Matt Philip

5. Richie Arnold

6. Ross Haylett-Petty

7. Matt Hodgson

8. Isi Naisarani

9. Ryan Louwrens

10. Jono Lance

11. Alex Newsome

12. Billy Meakes

13. Marcel Brache

14. Chance Peni

15. Dane Haylett-Petty


16. Anaru Rangi

17. Pek Cowan

18. Shambeckler Vui

19. Richard Hardwick

20. Kane Koteka

21. Michael Ruru

22. Ian Prior

23. Robbie Coleman

The Force take on the Blues on Saturday afternoon, kicking off at 3:15PM AEDT, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS.