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Cowan captains the Force against Rebels

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Western Force head coach Michael Foley has named his team to play the Rebels in Melbourne with club stalwart Pek Cowan taking over as captain.

Regular captain Matt Hodgson suffered a season ending shoulder injury last weekend so Cowan has been handed the captaincy.

Head coach Foley has made four changes to the match-day 23 and replacing the injured Hodgson is Chris Alcock who slots straight back into the starting XV having recovered from a knee injury suffered against the Rebels back in Round One.

In the other changes to the side Peter Grant returns to wear the No.10 jersey while Heath Tessmann and Solomoni (Junior) Rasolea will both look to make an impact off the bench.

Western Force Head Coach, Michael Foley said the team is looking forward to the challenge the Rebels pose and he will look to his leaders to step up and fill the void left by Hodgson.

“‘Hodgo’ is obviously a loss in terms of his play and leadership and while Pek (Cowan) will assume the captaincy, every player understands the need to step up,” he said.

“Pek has been around from day one and with Alby, was asked to lead the team in Matt’s absence in the pre-season.

“Clashes with the Rebels are always tight and we expect nothing different this weekend. Last week we controlled possession and position for large portions of the game and while I felt we were a little unlucky to not be rewarded, we’ve remained focused on areas we can control.”

In the front row, Cowan will captain the side for the fourth time in his career as he makes his first start since returning from a broken arm, Harry Scoble again gets the nod at hooker with Guy Millar to pack down at tighthead.

In the second row Ross Haylett-Petty will continue to build his solid partnership with Adam Coleman and Coleman will be looking to perform strongly and impress national coach Michael Cheika after being named in the Wallabies squad for the June Test Series yesterday.

In the backrow Brynard Stander starts at blindside with Alcock at openside while Ben McCalman completes the starting pack at No.8.

In the halves, Peter Grant returns at flyhalf and can expect quality service from Alby Mathewson this week when the veteran scrumhalf runs out for his 50th appearance in the Western Force jersey.

In the midfield, Kyle Godwin and Ben Tapuai will look to straighten the attack and take on the defence after showing some good chemistry in last week’s clash with the Blues.

The ever consistent back three of Marcel Brache, Luke Morahan and Dane Haylett-Petty at full back round out the starting side.

Coming off the bench, Heath Tessman will be keen to make his presence known in his return from a groin strain while the Force will look to get plenty of production from the likes of Angus Cottrell, Solomoni Rasolea and Semisi Masirewa when called upon.

Western Force

1 Pek Cowan (C) , 2 Harry Scoble , 3 Guy Millar , 4 Ross Haylett-Petty , 5 Adam Coleman , 6 Brynard Stander , 7 Chris Alcock , 8 Ben McCalman , 9 Alby Mathewson , 10 Peter Grant , 11 Luke Morahan , 12 Kyle Godwin , 13 Ben Tapuai , 14 Marcel Brache , 15 Dane Haylett-Petty

Replacements : 16. Heath Tessmann , 17. Francois Van Wyk , 18. Tetera Faulkner , 19. Rory Walton , 20. Angus Cottrell , 21. Ryan Louwrens , 22. Solomoni Rasolea , 23. Semisi Masirewa

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