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Two Wallabies return for Force

Fri, 03 May 2013 09:37
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As a squad, we were disappointed with last week's performance
Quote-end

Wallabies Nick Cummins and Brett Sheehan are set to make their return from injury when the Western Force face the Queensland Reds in Perth on Saturday.

Cummins, who has been named to start on the left wing, makes his first appearance since the side's Week Three match against the Bulls after a knee injury sidelined him for the past seven matches.

Sheehan is in line to play his first match since starting in the Wallabies' 22-19 win over Italy in November. The 33-year-old, who suffered an ankle injury in the match, is set to play his 89th Super Rugby match against the Reds.

Former Waratahs midfielder Ben Jacobs will make his first appearance for the Western Force at outside centre.

Jacobs, who has been part of the side's Wider Training Group, joins the squad on a short-term contract as cover for the injured Winston Stanley and Will Tupou, who both suffered shoulder injuries over the weekend. Jacobs played 35 caps for the Waratahs between 2004 and 2008, and has since represented English Premiership clubs Saracens (2008-2009) and Wasps (2009-2011), and Japanese club, Kyuden Voltex (2011-2013).

The other changes to the Western Force backline see Sias Ebersohn return to flyhalf, while Sam Norton-Knight moves to fullback.

The Western Force forward pack has also been reshaped with front row forward Kieran Longbottom replacing Salesi Ma'afu at tighthead prop, while Chris Alcock earns his fourth starting cap of the season at openside flank.

Alcock's inclusion sees Ben McCalman move to the back of the scrum and captain Matt Hodgson shift to blindside flank in his 92nd Super Rugby appearance for the Western Force - equalling the record number of matches played for the Force set by inaugural captain Nathan Sharpe.

Joining Sheehan on the reserves list is Tetera Faulkner - who along with lock Sam Wykes re-signed with the club for a further two years this week, back-rower Richard Brown and backs Junior Rasolea and Jayden Hayward.

Western Force coach Michael Foley says it's important that the Force responds following last weekend's loss to the Brumbies.

"As a squad, we were disappointed with last week's performance," he said.

"We acknowledge the quality of the Brumbies' play as one of the leading teams in the competition, but felt there were elements of our play we could have controlled much better.

"Ultimately, we pride ourselves on our standards and while we know we're in the process of developing our game, we felt last week was not a true reflection of us individually or as a team.

"This week Nick and Brett return to the side after lay-offs from injury, while Ben will make his return to Super Rugby after a number of years playing overseas. They all bring a great deal of experience and will be looking to contribute towards what needs to be a complete team performance on Saturday."

Western Force: 15 Sam Norton-Knight, 14 Patrick Dellit, 13 Ben Jacobs, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8  Ben McCalman, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Matt Hodgson (captain), 5 Sam Wykes, 4 Toby Lynn, 3 Kieran Longbottom, 2 Heath Tessmann, 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacements: 16 James Hilterbrand, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Rory Walton, 19 Richard Brown, 20 Brett Sheehan, 21 Junior Rasolea, 22 Jayden Hayward.

Date: Saturday, May 4
Venue: NIB Stadium, Perth
Kick-off: 17.40 WAST (19.40 EAST; 09.40 GMT)
Referee: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner, Ed Martin
TMO: Peter Marshall

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