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Norton-Knight sidelines Sias

Fri, 12 Apr 2013 08:43
Sam-norton-knight-630 Sias-ebersohn-force-looks

Sam Norton-Knight will take charge of the Western Force backline for the first time after being named at flyhalf to face the Crusaders in Perth on Saturday.

Norton-Knight, who wore the Wallabies flyhalf jersey in 2007, will make his run-on debut for the Western Australian side as one of seven new faces in the Force's starting XV after two strong performances off the bench against the Waratahs and Rebels.

The 29-year-old has been selected ahead of South African Sias Ebersohn in a reshaped backline with Junior Rasolea, who will start in the Force midfield alongside Kyle Godwin; while Jayden Hayward will also make his first run-on appearance at fullback, forming a new-look back three with in-form winger Alfie Mafi and Force debutante Ed Stubbs.

Prop Pek Cowan and No.8 Richard Brown will make a planned return to the Western Force forward pack while Sam Wykes has been rewarded for his form following his return from a knee reconstruction last season and will replace the injured Hugh McMeniman (shoulder) in the second row.

Rory Walton is in line to make his Super Rugby debut via the bench on Saturday and is joined on the reserves list by fellow forwards Ben Whittaker, Tetera Faulkner and Chris Alcock. Mick Snowden, Sias Ebersohn and Patrick Dellit will provide coverage for the Force backline.

"How we play needs to better reflect the respect we have for one another, which had been a feature of our preparation and performances to date," said Force coach Michael Foley.

"A number of players have earned their selection in the starting XV this weekend and we’re looking forward to them taking their opportunity as part of the match 22."

Western Force: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Alfie Mafi, 13 Junior Rasolea, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Ed Stubbs, 10 Sam Norton-Knight, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Richard Brown, 7 Matt Hodgson (captain), 6 Ben McCalman, 5 Sam Wykes, 4 Toby Lynn, 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 2 Heath Tessmann, 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacements: 16 Ben Whittaker, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Rory Walton, 19 Chris Alcock, 20 Mick Snowden, 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 Patrick Dellit.

Date: Saturday, April 13
Venue: NIB Stadium, Perth
Kick-off: 19.45 (11.45 GMT)
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)
Assistant referees: James Leckie (Australia), Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

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