You'd like to think that the guys would be able to extract another one or two percent for Sharpie
The Western Force have made two changes to their side that will farewell inaugural captain Nathan Sharpe, when they face the Brumbies on Saturday.
Sharpe, who has played a tournament record 160 Super Rugby matches, will make his final home appearance in front of 'the Sea of Blue' on Saturday before completing his stellar provincial career in Christchurch against the Crusaders in a fortnight's time.
The veteran lock will be joined in the starting XV by fellow inaugural Western Force teammate Richard Brown, who earns his promotion into the run-on side in the absence of injured No.8 Ben McCalman. Brown will start the match at blindside flank, with Matt Hodgson shifting to the back of the scrum and Wallabies skipper David Pocock - who along with Sharpe played all four Tests during the inbound international series - resuming his place at openside and captain.
The other change to the Western Force side that defeated the Lions 17-11 a month ago sees scrumhalf Josh Holmes rewarded for a strong performance in last weekend's 42-0 win over the South Australian President's XV in Adelaide. Following Holmes' call-up to the run-on side, Brett Sheehan will join David Harvey as backline reserves.
The Western Force will again feature five forwards on their bench, with former Australian Under-20 representative Tetera Faulkner joining hooker Elvis Taione and Salesi Manu as front row replacement options.
Saturday's match will also serve as the final home appearance for marquee wing Napolioni Nalaga, who will return to French club, Clermont, at the completion of the 2012 Super Rugby season.
Western Force Defence & Skills Coach Phil Blake says his side will be endeavouring to make it a memorable occasion for the club's departing players.
"Saturday is a big occasion for the franchise and its supporters, and particularly for Sharpie, who has sacrificed a lot for this franchise over the past seven years,” said. "You'd like to think that the guys would be able to extract another one or two percent out of their games and their performance for the franchise and for Sharpie.
"In saying that, we won't be getting carried away. At the end of the day, our priority is going out there to win a game of footy and so whatever the motivation is, we'll bring it, but we need a committed 80-minute performance before we can start dancing in the streets.”
Blake says his side returns refreshed following the competition's three-week hiatus due to international Tests against Scotland and Wales.
"The effects of the three-week break are yet to be seen but everyone is in the same boat,” he said. "What it has done is re-energized us, it's given us an opportunity to work on a few things, and the match in South Australia last week will also hold us in good stead.
"We've still got a lot to play for in the last three weeks of the competition - not least of which is for our fans, who have stuck by us throughout this season. We only to get to play 16 games during the [regular] season and in light of where we're sitting, we're certainly still looking to extract every win we can until the end of the season.”
Saturday will be the Western Force's final home match for 2012 before completing their Super Rugby campaign with matches against the Blues in Auckland (July 7) and Crusaders in Christchurch (July 15).
Western Force: 15 Alfie Mafi, 14 Nick Cummins, 13 Will Tupou, 12 Rory Sidey, 11 Napolioni Nalaga, 10 Ben Seymour, 9 Josh Holmes, 8 Matt Hodgson, 7 David Pocock (captain), 6 Richard Brown, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Toby Lynn, 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacements: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Salesi Manu, 19 Phoenix Battye, 20 Lachlan McCaffrey, 21 Brett Sheehan, 22 David Harvey.
Date: Saturday, June 30
Venue: nib Stadium, Perth
Kick-off: 17.40 AWST (19.40 AEST; 09.40 GMT)
Referee: Ian Smith (Australia)
Assistant referees: James Leckie (Australia), Ed Martin (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)