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Mathewson to face Sharks

Thu, 16 May 2013 09:27
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Our immediate challenge is to back up our previous two performances
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Scrumhalf Alby Mathewson will return to the Western Force's starting line-up to face the Sharks in Perth on Friday.

The Force has retained the same 22-man squad that pushed the Chiefs in their 21-22- loss to the reigning Super Rugby champions, with Mathewson's promotion to the starting XV the only change in the Western Australian line-up.

Prior to last week's encounter, the Kiwi scrumhalf had started in each of the Force's previous 11 matches.

Friday's match represents the first of five consecutive home matches for the Force - including Super Rugby fixtures against the Sharks, Highlanders, Waratahs and Brumbies, and their tour match against the British & Irish Lions.

Western Force coach Michael Foley says these matches are an opportunity to demonstrate the progress the squad has made this season and the direction of the side moving forward.

"After undertaking an extensive travel schedule this season, the challenge is to strive for greater consistency in our last five performances at home," he said.

"I'm extremely pleased in the way the boys have continued to challenge themselves through what's been difficult circumstances over recent weeks.

"The performances against the Reds and again against the Chiefs indicates the extra effort they've put into preparing themselves to play for each other.

"While we were disappointed with the result against the Chiefs, I was proud of the character the boys demonstrated in outscoring an excellent attacking side like the Chiefs two tries to one.

"While we continue to develop our game, our immediate challenge is to back up our previous two performances with the same outstanding effort against a dangerous Sharks side."

Western Force: 15 Jayden Hayward, 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 Sam Norton-Knight.

Date: Friday, May 17
Venue: NIB Stadium, Perth
Kick-off: 19.45 (11.45 GMT; 13.45 SA time)
Referee: James Leckie (Australia)
Assistant referees: Ian Smith (Australia), Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)
TMO: Steve Leszczynski (Australia).

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