Hardy back to prop up Force's finals bid - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hardy back to prop up Force's finals bid

22/04/2009 12:05:12 PM Comments (0)

Prop Gareth Hardy will make a long-awaited return for the Western Force in Friday night's must-win Super 14 clash with the Lions at Subiaco Oval.

Hardy was named on Wednesday to return to the side after a successful return with NSW club side Sydney University last weekend following a knee injury which had sidelined him for five weeks.

He takes over at loosehead prop from Pek Cowan who drops to the bench after starting the last seven matches.

Coach John Mitchell has opted for five forwards and two backs on his bench over the traditional 4-3 split, omitting reserve halfback Chris O'Young two include two reserve props - Cowan and AJ Whalley.

Hardy's only previous appearance in the competition this season was against the Cheetahs in round two.

Wallabies No.8 Richard Brown has been named in the starting lineup, but will need to pass a fitness test for the ankle sprain he suffered in the 15-14 victory over the NSW Waratahs in Sydney last Saturday.

The ninth-placed Force remains in finals contention but cannot to lose any games in the four remaining rounds.

Western Force: Drew Mitchell, Scott Staniforth, Ryan Cross, James O'Connor, cameron Shepherd, Matt Giteau, Josh Valentine, Richard Brown, David Pocock, Matt Hodgson, Nathan Sharpe (capt), Sam Wykes, Ben Castle, Tai McIsaac, Gareth Hardy. Res: Ben Whittaker, AJ Whalley, Pek Cowan, Tom Hockings, Tamaiti Horua, Josh Tatupu, Haig Sare.

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