Brumbies

Davidson to make Force debut against the Hurricanes

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Former Sydney University captain Tim Davidson will make his debut in the Tooheys New Super 14 competition when the Emirates Western Force play the Wellington Hurricanes on Saturday night.


Davidson was one of the team’s stand-out performers during the trial phase and replaces Scott Fava at number 8, who will start on the bench after breaching the team’s recovery and preparation protocol.


Also making his debut for the Perth-based team is flyhalf Brock James. The former Queensland Red was not considered for selection last week after suffering a flu-like virus.


Other changes to the line-up which started against the Brumbies last Friday include lock David Pusey, who replaces John Welborn.


And, with injuries to Lachlan MacKay and Josh Graham, Junior Pelesasa will move to inside centre and Scott Staniforth to outside centre.


Emirates Western Force head coach John Mitchell said injury and illness meant new combinations were still being employed.


Mitchell said Davidson was deserving of the opportunity presented by Fava’s omission from the run-on side.


He said with Fava’s selection in the Commonwealth Games team to play next month, Davidson was going to have to step in at some stage. The timing was just a little earlier than expected.


‘While Scott’s omission is unfortunate, it gives Tim a wonderful opportunity and he’s more than ready for it,’ Mitchell said.


‘He’s been impressive at training, he’s fast and elusive, and has a good head on his shoulders. He’ll combine well with the other back-rowers, Luke Doherty and Matt Hodgson.’


Mitchell described the Hurricanes as a formidable foe, boasting 11 All Blacks in their starting 15 and a great leader in Tana Umaga.


He said they were a threat all over the park, with a forward pack ‘ including back-rowers Jerry Collins, Rodney So’oialo and Chris Masoe – which had matured, under the four years under the same coach, to be at the top of their game.


Saturday night’s match will be played at Yarrow Stadium in the town of New Plymouth, familiar territory for Emirates Western Force’s James and fullback James Hilgendorf. Both men have played for the province ‘ Taranaki ‘ in the National Provincial Championship.


Mitchell described the New Plymouth ground as a great place to play rugby and the locals as fiercely passionate rugby fans.


Western Force to play the Hurricanes.


1. Gareth Hardy
2. Brendan Cannon
3. David Fitter
4. David Pusey
5. Nathan Sharpe
6. Luke Doherty
7. Matt Hodgson
8. Tim Davidson
9. Matt Henjak
10. Brock James
11. Digby Ioane
12. Junior Pelesasa
13. Scott Staniforth
14. Cameron Shepherd
15. James Hilgendorf


Reserves

16. Tai McIsaac
17. David Te Moana
18. John Welborn
19. Scott Fava
20. Chris O’Young
21. Scott Daruda
22. Haig Sare
23. Richard Brown

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