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McCalman one of five Force changes for Brumbies

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The Western Force have named Wallaby back rower Ben McCalman in a starting team that features five changes for this weekend’s Super Rugby match against the Brumbies at nib Stadium in Perth.

McCalman has been eased back into playing and played for 10-minutes off the bench in the win over the Reds at Suncorp Stadium last weekend.

In three more changes to the starting forward pack, Nedlands youngster Jermaine Ainsley earns his first run-on start after impressing in his first two stints off the bench. 22-year-old Ross Haylett-Petty also makes the first start of his career while veteran hooker Heath Tessmann comes into the starting fold.

Coach Michael Foley said his side is looking to carry the momentum from last weekend into Friday night’s showdown with the team from the nation’s capital.

“We were pleased with the result last weekend,” he said. “And we’re looking to continue to improve the speed of our game. Irrespective of our travel schedule, skill work remains a priority. We believe this will ultimately lead to us converting more of the opportunities we’re creating.”

“A key learning from last season was that we needed to use a greater number of players in our starting 15, to ensure we gave ourselves the chance to perform at our best each week. We’ve retained the match 23 from last week and asked some players, who’ve displayed good form in training and from the bench to lead us out this week.”

“This is something we’ve worked and planned for since the start of pre-season, but has been made a reality by how well players have supported each other across all positional groups.”

Pek Cowan remains at loosehead linking up with Ainsley and Tessmann in the front row.

In the second row Adam Coleman and Ross Haylett-Petty will look to dominate the set piece and disrupt the Brumbies at lineout time.

Captain Matt Hodgson and blindside flanker Brynard Stander complete the forward pack buoyed by the return of McCalman to the starting side.

In the only change to the backline, scrumhalf Ian Prior comes into the starting line-up for the first time this season while the rest of the starting backline remains unchanged. Jono Lance will again be the general after two strong showings so far this year, in the centres Solomoni (Junior) Rasolea retains his starting spot following the victory over Reds and will partner with Ben Tapuai at outside centre.

After an impressive run-on debut Semisi Masirewa starts on the left wing with Luke Morahan commanding the right, while Dane Haylett-Petty rounds out the backline.

Coming off the bench, Nathan Charles, Steve Mafi and Angus Cottrell will look to provide an impact alongside Alby Mathewson, Peter Grant and Marcel Brache.

Western Force

1. Pekahou Cowan, 2. Heath Tessmann, 3. Jermaine Ainsley, 4. Ross Haylett-Petty, 5. Adam Coleman, 6. Brynard Stander, 7. Matt Hodgson, 8. Ben McCalman, 9. Ian Prior, 10. Jono Lance, 11. Semisi Masirewa, 12. Solomoni (Junior Rasolea), 13. Ben Tapuai, 14. Luke Morahan, 15. Dane Haylett-Petty

Replacements : 16. Nathan Charles, 17. Chris Heiberg, 18. Guy Millar, 19. Sitiveni (Stevie) Mafi, 20. Angus Cottrell, 21. Alby Mathewson, 22. Peter Grant, 23. Marcel Brache,

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