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Force make six changes Hurricanes

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The Western Force have named a side with six changes for this weekend’s Super Rugby match against the Hurricanes in Palmerston North.

Western Force coach Michael Foley has named Wallaby prop Tetera Faulkner in the starting side after recovering from a knee injury suffered in the pre-season ahead of schedule.

Veteran flyhalf Peter Grant will make his first start in the Western Force jersey after coming off the bench in the opening rounds. Grant starts for Jono Lance who has gone down with a pectoral injury suffered in last week’s meeting with the Brumbies.

In further changes to the run-on side, Nathan Charles returns to start at hooker, Angus Cottrell has been selected for his first start of the season at blindside flanker, Marcel Brache comes onto the left wing for Luke Morahan and Alby Mathewson will wear No.9 against his former side.

Head Coach Michael Foley said the clash with the Hurricanes is obviously an important one, with the team wanting to kick the three-week New Zealand tour off with a win.

“Playing the Hurricanes at home is always a tough match, but we look forward to the challenge and are eager to test ourselves against last year’s minor premiers.”

“The Hurricanes are a dangerous team with threats all over the park, but we will stick to our game style and focus on playing at pace.”

In the front row Pek Cowan once again starts at loosehead linking up with Charles and Faulkner as the Force field their most experienced front row possible with a combined 232 Super Rugby caps.

The second row remains unchanged with Adam Coleman partnering with Ross Haylett-Petty who gets his second start after impressing in his run-on debut last week.

The formidable paring of Matt Hodgson and Ben McCalman make up the backrow alongside Cottrell who will look to make the most of his start at blindside.

The old heads of Alby Mathewson and Peter Grant will partner in the halves for the first time while Solomoni (Junior) Rasolea starts at inside centre after a strong showing last week with Ben Tapuai named at outside centre.

After bagging his second try of the season last week Luke Morahan will miss this weekend’s game and Marcel Brache will man the right wing with Semisi Masirewa on the left while the in-form Dane Haylett-Petty will once again start at fullback.

Coming off the bench, the experienced Heath Tessmann and Steve Mafi will look to make an impact when called upon. While Ryan Louwrens has been named for his first appearance of the season after earning seven caps in a breakout year in 2015 and New Zealand recruit Albert Nikoro is set to make his Western Force debut off the bench.

Western Force

1. Pekahou Cowan , 2. Nathan Charles , 3. Tetera Faulkner , 4. Ross Haylett-Petty , 5. Adam Coleman , 6. Angus Cottrell , 7. Matt Hodgson , 8. Ben McCalman , 9. Alby Mathewson , 10. Peter Grant , 11. Semisi Masirewa , 12. Solomoni (Junior Rasolea) , 13. Ben Tapuai , 14. Marcel Brache , 15. Dane Haylett-Petty

Replacements : 16. Chris Heiberg , 17. Heath Tessmann , 18. Jermaine Ainsley , 19. Sitiveni (Stevie) Mafi , 20. Brynard Stander , 21. Ryan Louwrens , 22. Ian Prior , 23. Albert Nikoro

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