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Injury ends Pocock's Super Rugby season early

Force captain David Pocock will miss the rest of the Super Rugby season

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Article Published: Tuesday 3 July 2012|

Western Force captain David Pocock has been left out of a 24-man squad to travel to New Zealand as he has been ruled out of the rest of this season's Super Rugby tournament due to an injury sustained last week.

The Force have matches remaining against the Blues in Auckland and the Crusaders in Christchurch but Pocock will miss the matches after he r succumbed to a groin strain incurred during his side's match against the Brumbies on Saturday night.

Nathan Sharpe, who farewelled his home crowd on Saturday, will lead the squad in Pocock's absence and will finish his West Australian provincial career as he started it, as captain of the Western Force.

No.8 Matt Hodgson will also miss the two-match New Zealand tour after damaging ligaments in his ankle against the Brumbies.

The vacancies in the back row provides an opportunity for rising star Angus Cottrell to return to the 22-man squad for the sixth time this season, while Palmyra back-rower and last year's PG Hampshire Medallist, Anare Koliavu has also been called into the squad.

The 29-year-old former Bankwest Rugby Academy member previously represented the Fijian development team, the Fiji Warriors against the NSW Waratahs and Melbourne Rebels in 2011.

GPS tighthead prop Ruan Smith and Sydney University lock Oliver Atkins, who were both inclusions for the Western Force side that fronted the Brumbies, will remain with the squad and will chase their Super Rugby debuts across the Tasman, while former Australian Under 20 front-rowers Tetera Faulkner and Ben Whittaker have also been named.

The Western Force has retained Saturday night's starting backline for the tour, while young flyhalf Kyle Godwin will be in line to receive his first cap since returning from the IRB Junior World Championship in South Africa with the Australian Under 20 side.

Former Blues inside centre Winston Stanley has also been included and will be seeking to play his first match against his former club, where his brother Benson is still contracted, since joining the Western Force this season.

Western Force Defence and Skills Coach Phil Blake says his side will be looking to put its injury toll to one side and finish the season on a winning note.

"It's certainly not ideal but rugby is a contact sport and it's the nature of the game that you will pick up injuries," he said.

"We're certainly not on our own on that front but we won't be using it as an excuse for anything less than a winning performance on Saturday night.

"We're very confident in the guys we've brought in and we know they'll help us get the job done. Most of them have had experience playing at this level or against similar opposition and, for those guys not regularly in the squad, this is a great opportunity for them to show us and others what they can do in the final two matches of the season."

The Western Force's will play the Blues in Auckland (7 July) and Crusaders in Christchurch (14 July).

Western Force squad for New Zealand

Oliver Atkins, Richard Brown, Nathan Charles, Angus Cottrell, Pek Cowan, Nick Cummins, Patrick Dellit, Tetera Faulkner, Kyle Godwin, Josh Holmes, Anare Koliavu, Toby Lynn, Alfie Mafi, Salesi Manu, Lachlan McCaffrey, Napolioni Nalaga, Ben Seymour, Nathan Sharpe, Brett Sheehan, Rory Sidey, Ruan Smith, Winston Stanley, Will Tupou, Ben Whittaker.

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