Captain Ian Prior will make his return from injury when the Western Force take on the NSW Waratahs at Cbus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast this Friday.
The inclusion of Prior, who missed the past two Super Rugby AU matches through injury, is one of seven changes – five to the starting line-up and two on the bench – from the team that faced the Melbourne Rebels two weeks ago.
The match also marks the return of Force legend Pek Cowan to the starting line-up. The 10-time-capped Wallaby prop made his 131st appearance for the club coming off the bench against the Rebels.
In a second change to the forward pack, Future Force Academy graduate Kane Koteka is set to make his first Super Rugby AU appearance of the season on Friday. The flanker has been brought into the starting side in place of Tevin Ferris, who remains on the injury list after leaving the field early in Round 5.
Koteka is a hard-running loose forward in a similar mould to his teammates Henry Stowers and Brynard Stander.
In two changes amongst the backs, Brad Lacey returns to the wing in place of Marcel Brache, who is being rested, and Jake Strachan, who is set to make his Super Rugby AU debut at fullback in place of Jack McGregor, who is included amongst the reserves.
Strachan has been a regular in the Force line-up in recent seasons, impressing with some consistent performances in Global Rapid Rugby.
In two changes to the bench, Ollie Atkins returns to the squad as loose forward cover, and utility back Nick Jooste makes his return to the match day 23 in the place of Henry Taefu, who is rested.
15 Jake Strachan, 14 Byron Ralston, 13 Kyle Godwin, 12 Richard Kahui, 11 Brad Lacey, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Ian Prior (c), 8 Brynard Stander, 7 Kane Koteka, 6 Henry Stowers, 5 Fergus Lee Warner, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Kieran Longbottom, 2 Feleti Kaitu’u, 1 Pek Cowan
Replacements: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Chris Heiberg, 18 Tom Sheminant, 19 Johan Bardoul, 20 Ollie Atkins, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Nick Jooste, 23 Jack McGregor