Force team is unchanged

2012-05-11 00:00

WALLABY loose forward Matt Hodgson, who suffered concussion in last weekend’s Super Rugby outing against the Cheetahs, has nevertheless been included in the Western Force team to face the Sharks at King’s Park tomorrow evening.

The Force, like the Sharks, have named an unchanged team and Hodgson will join fellow Wallabies David Pocock and Richard Brown in a talented backrow.

Nick Stiles, the Force forwards coach, said that fielding the same 22 players was an advantage as they looked to finish their tour on a high following their narrow loss in Bloemfontein.

“It’s good to have the same 22 and have that continuity with our game plan,” Stiles said yesterday. “We’re starting to see some growth through our backs so we’ll definitely look to attack a lot more than last week.

“Hodgson has come through the week really well. He’s trained fully today and will be a definite starter.”

Australian reports that the Force hope to pack up Sharks coach John Plumtree and take him back to Perth have been dismissed as “rubbish” by King’s Park officials.

The Australian newspaper reported yesterday that the Force were looking to Plumtree to fill the vacant head coaching position.

The report said the Force captain David Pocock was involved in negotiations along with chief executive Vern Reid. The Force have been digging around for a new coach after Richard Graham was dumped earlier this year following the announcement that he would take over the Queensland Reds next year.

Sharks CEO Brian van Zyl yesterday dismissed the report of a possible Plumtree move as totally wrong.

“Plum is under contract with us until the end of 2013 and this story is rubbish. Plum contacted me when this report first surfaced and told me he had not even spoken to anyone with the Force. I don’t know where these stories come from.”

TEAMS:

Sharks – 15 Louis Ludik, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Tim Whitehead, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Keegan Daniel (c), 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Anton Bresler, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira,

Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Ryan Kankowski, 21 Frederic Michalak, 22 Meyer Bosman

Force – 15 Alfie Mafi, 14 Sam Wara, 13 Nick Cummins, 12 Winston Stanley, 11 Napolioni Nalaga, 10 10 David Harvey, 9 Brett Sheehan, 8 Matt Hodgson, 7 David Pocock (c), 6 Richard Brown, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Toby Lynn, 3 Salesi Ma’afu, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pek Cowan.

Replacements: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Salesi Manu, 18 Phoenix Battye, 19 Lachlan McCaffrey, 20 Josh Holmes, 21 Ben Seymour, 22 Rory Sidey.

Referee: Mark Lawrence (RSA). Kick-off: 5.05 pm.

This weekend’s fixtures (home team first, SA times):

Today

Blues v Lions 9.35 am

Waratahs v Bulls 11.40 am

Tomorrow

Highlanders v Hurricanes 9.35 am

Rebels v Crusaders 11.40 am

Sharks v Force 5.05 pm

Stormers v Cheetahs 7.10 pm

Sunday

Reds v Chiefs 8.10 am

Bye: Brumbies

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