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
Fri, 21 October 2016
Sale Sharks v Toulon 18h45 AJ Bell Stadium
Sat, 22 October 2016
New Zealand v Australia 06h35 Auckland
Munster v Glasgow Warriors 12h00 Thomond Park
Free State Cheetahs v Blue Bulls 14h00 Bloemfontein
Clermont Auvergne v Bordeaux 14h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Castres v Northampton Saints 15h15 Stade Pierre Antoine
Saracens v Scarlets 16h30 Allianz Park
Ulster v Exeter Chiefs 18h45 Kingspan Stadium
Sun, 23 October 2016
Montpellier v Leinster 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Zebre v Connacht 15h15 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Toulouse v Wasps 15h15 Le Mans
Leicester Tigers v Racing Metro 16h30 Welford Road
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 10 0 5 43
Waratahs 15 8 0 7 40
Rebels 15 7 0 8 31
Reds 15 3 1 11 17
Force 15 2 0 13 13
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 15 11 0 4 53
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 52
Chiefs 15 11 0 4 51
Crusaders 15 11 0 4 50
Blues 15 8 1 6 39
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 1 4 51
Bulls 15 9 1 5 42
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Sunwolves 15 1 1 13 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 14 11 0 3 52
Sharks 15 9 1 5 43
Jaguares 14 3 0 11 18
Kings 15 2 0 13 9