MacKay gets the nod at 10 for the Force


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Emirates Western Force Coach John Mitchell has named his team for Friday night’s Investec Super 14 Week 10 clash with the Reds at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

With Matt Giteau confined to the sidelines for the clash after suffering a major head knock in last week’s loss to the Waratahs, in form utility Lachlan MacKay will assume the role of key playmaker.

25 year old MacKay will make his first appearance in the Emirates Western Force number 10 jersey, after joining the team from the Waratahs in its inaugural season of 2006.

MacKay’s elevation to the starting lineup has opened the door for 17 year old rookie James O’Connor to make his first appearance in the Emirates Western Force match 22.

O’Connor, who has Australian, Kiwi and South African ancestory, joined the WA side from Brisbane this season after graduating from renowned rugby nursery Nudgee College.

An Australian Schoolboys representative last year, the 82kg inside back starred for the Australian Sevens team at the recent iRB World Series Sevens event in Adelaide.

Coach John Mitchell has kept his forward pack intact after last week’s epic clash with the Waratahs, but has made one additional change to his backline.

Haig Sare, who earned five minutes from the reserves bench in his comeback appearance from a lengthy suspension last Saturday night, has been elevated into the starting XV at right wing with Nick Cummins reverting to the bench.

Experienced flanker Tamaiti Horua also returns to the reserves bench after playing for Cottesloe in the WA Senior Competition last weekend. He will replace Matt Hodgson in the number 19 jersey.

Mitchell said his team’s finals destiny was still in its hands despite last week’s defeat to the Waratahs.

‘We feel that we’re in control of our destiny from here onwards and obviously we’ve got no choice but to win each of our remaining matches,’ said Mitchell.

Mitchell said the Reds would enter the contest refreshed after their bye week.

‘Having the bye week is hugely beneficial for recovery and those sorts of things, and they’ve been back from South Africa now for a couple of weeks so they’ll be nice and fresh,’ he said.

Mitchell said his team was preparing for yet another confrontational battle after enduring an 84-minute epic against the Waratahs last Saturday.

‘It’s another Australian derby so it’s going to be just as full on and committed as it was (against the Waratahs) you’d think.’

Scott Staniforth has been named as the team’s new vice captain in the absence of Giteau.

Overall head to head: Played 2, EWF 1, Reds 1.

Last met: 16 March 2007, EWF 38 def Reds 3, Subiaco Oval, Perth.

Emirates Western Force v Reds

Friday 18 April, 2008
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick off: 7.40pm (5.40pm WA)

Emirates Western Force

1. Pek Cowan,2. Tai McIsaac,. Troy Takiari,4. Tom Hockings,5. Nathan Sharpe (c),6. Scott Fava,7. David Pocock,8. Richard Brown,9. Chris O’Young,10. Lachlan MacKay,11. Drew Mitchell,12. Scott Staniforth (vc),13. Ryan Cross,14. Haig Sare,15. Cameron Shepherd


16. Luke Holmes,17. AJ Whalley,18. Sam Wykes,19. Tamaiti Horua,20. James Stannard,21. James O’Connor,22. Nick Cummins.   

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