Hodgson, Wykes return for Force

Thu, 21 Mar 2013 08:25
Large matt hodgson h s Large sam wykes charges Large matt hodgson pass 630 Large sam wykes h s Large matt hodgson h s2

Western Force captain Matt Hodgson and lock Sam Wykes are in line to return from injury when the Western Force christens the new nib Stadium.

Western Force captain Matt Hodgson and lock Sam Wykes are in line to return from injury when the Western Force christens the new nib Stadium against the Cheetahs on Saturday.

Hodgson initially suffered a hamstring injury in the lead-up to the season opener against the Melbourne Rebels, before aggravating it in the Week Three clash against the Bulls in Pretoria.

His absence from last weekend's win over the Queensland Reds allowed him to be at the birth of he and wife Jo's first child, Hunter Patrick, last Thursday.

Head coach Michael Foley has named an initial 23-man squad to face the Cheetahs - with Wykes, who has recovered from an ankle injury sustained in training last week, set to replace Phoenix Battye in the matchday squad.

The match will mark wing Alfie Mafi's 50th in Super Rugby.

Mafi, who currently shares a hold of the leading try-scorer's mantle with four touchdowns, has played 33 matches over three seasons for the Force, having previously represented the Waratahs (nine matches in 2008) and the Brumbies (seven matches in 2009 and 2010).

The match against the Cheetahs is the first home fixture for the Western Force in 2013, following the AU$95 million renovation of nib Stadium.

The new stadium now features a towering eastern grandstand, new southern stand and two massive replay screens at either end of the ground.

Foley said the revamped nib Stadium ushers in a new era for the Western Force in Perth.

"We now have a fantastic new home and we're very proud to be playing back in Perth, in front of the Sea of Blue," he said.

"An important part of our development will be to earn the respect of our people through the way we perform in our home.

"Last week we showed great character in the way we supported each other through the 80 minutes.

"To hold the Reds try-less was important, as we face another strong attacking side this week."

Western Force squad: Chris Alcock, Richard Brown, Nathan Charles, Angus Cottrell, Pek Cowan, Patrick Dellit, Sias Ebersohn, Tetera Faulkner, Kyle Godwin, Jayden Hayward, Matt Hodgson (captain), Toby Lynn, Salesi Ma'afu, Alfie Mafi, Alby Mathewson, Ben McCalman, Hugh McMeniman, Junior Rasolea, Mick Snowden, Winston Stanley, Heath Tessmann, Will Tupou, Sam Wykes.

Date: Saturday, 23 March
Venue: NIB Stadium, Perth
Kick-off: 18.45 (12.45 SA time; 10.45 GMT)
Referee: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Ian Smith (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 06 May 2016
Crusaders v Reds 07h35 Christchurch
Brumbies v Bulls 09h40 Canberra
Griffons v Eagles 15h00 Welkom
EP Kings v Blue Bulls 16h00 Port Elizabeth
Sat, 07 May 2016
Sunwolves v Force 05h15 Tokyo
Chiefs v Highlanders 07h35 Hamilton
Waratahs v Cheetahs 09h40 Sydney
Leopards v Boland 12h30 Potchefstroom
Griquas v Border 13h00 Kimberley
Sharks v Hurricanes 13h00 Durban
Pumas v Namibia 13h00 Mpumalanga
Golden Lions v Free State Cheetahs 13h00 Randburg
Wasps v London Irish 14h30 Ricoh Arena
Worcester Warriors v Saracens 14h30 Sixways
Bath v Leicester Tigers 14h30 Recreation Ground
Gloucester v Northampton Saints 14h30 Kingsholm
Harlequins v Exeter Chiefs 14h30 Twickenham
Newcastle Falcons v Sale Sharks 14h30 Kingston Park
Zebre v Dragons 15h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Munster v Scarlets 15h00 Thomond Park
Ospreys v Ulster 15h00 Liberty Stadium
Connacht v Glasgow Warriors 15h00 Sportsground
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 15h00 BT Murrayfield
Leinster v Treviso 15h00 RDS
Kings v Blues 15h05 Port Elizabeth
Sharks v Western Province 15h30 Durban
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Rebels 9 5 0 4 23
Brumbies 9 5 0 4 21
Waratahs 8 4 0 4 21
Reds 9 2 1 6 12
Force 9 1 0 8 6
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Chiefs 9 8 0 1 37
Crusaders 8 7 0 1 32
Hurricanes 9 6 0 3 31
Highlanders 9 6 0 3 28
Blues 8 4 1 3 20
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 9 6 0 3 29
Bulls 8 6 1 1 28
Cheetahs 9 2 0 7 12
Sunwolves 8 1 0 7 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 9 6 0 3 27
Sharks 9 4 1 4 23
Jaguares 8 1 0 7 7
Kings 7 1 0 6 4