Mitchell makes Un-Forced changes - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mitchell makes Un-Forced changes

27/02/2008 05:45:28 AM Comments (0)

Victory hasn't spared the Western Force team changes with coach John Mitchell opting for a re-worked squad to take on the Lions at Ellis Park in their Super 14 clash on Friday.

Mitchell has stuck to his plan to utilise his full squad on the South Africa tour despite last week's 16-15 win over the Cheetahs.

Most of the changes come in the forwards.

Gareth Hardy, Luke Holmes and Troy Takiari will form the third unique starting front row combination for the WA team this season, with Holmes to make his run on debut at hooker.

In another shuffle of the back row, Mitchell has awarded Matt Hodgson his first starting XV berth for the 2008 season at openside flanker, with new recruit Tamaiti Horua to start his first match for the Force at No.8.

Backrower Scott Fava returns to blindside flanker after playing from the reserves bench during the win in Bloemfontein.

Cameron Shepherd's return from a knee ligament injury has paved the way for several positional changes in the backs.

Shepherd again assumes the fullback role, with Drew Mitchell returning to the left wing.

Scrumbase duo James Stannard and Matt Giteau stay, while Scott Staniforth and Ryan Cross have been reunited in the midfield.

Mitchell said that his planned squad rotation during the South Africa tour had so far reaped rewards.

"If I know the (South African) mentality pretty well, they (the Lions) will come out pretty fired up and determined to rebound from a disappointing performance last week," said Mitchell, referring to the home team's hammering from the Blues.

"It's important we don't get intimidated by that and maintain the focus on what we're good at and what we need to do to win."

Western Force: Cameron Shepherd, Nick Cummins, Ryan Cross, Scott Staniforth, Drew Mitchell, Matt Giteau, James Stannard, Tamaiti Horua, Matt Hodgson, Scott Fava, Nathan Sharpe (Capt), Tom Hockings, Troy Takiari, Luke Holmes, Gareth Hardy. Res: Tai McIsaac, AJ Whalley, Sam Wykes, Richard Brown, David Pocock, Scott Daruda, Lachlan MacKay.

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