Staniforth returns for the Force but Cannon is ruled out



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Former Wallaby Scott Staniforth will make his 70th Super Rugby appearance when he returns to the Emirates Western Force line-up for the game against the Crusaders on Friday night.

Also reaching a Super Rugby milestone will be captain Nathan Sharpe, who will notch up his 80th outing when the Emirates Western Force take on the competition leaders at Subiaco Oval.

Staniforth, equal third highest try scorer in the Super 14, will resume his position at inside centre after serving a week’s suspension for a tackle in the match against the Highlanders.

Injury has again take its toll on the local team, with hooker Brendan Cannon sidelined by a niggling nerve-related injury to his left shoulder, while flyhalf James Hilgendorf is unavailable for selection having suffered a double fracture to his left eye socket after being hit by Blues centre Rua Tipoki.

Coming in for Cannon is versatile front rower, Tai McIsaac, while former Australian U19 captain Scott Daruda will replace Hilgendorf.

In other changes, Pat O’Connor will partner Sharpe in the second row for his third Super 14 appearance, Haig Sare returns to the wing, with Gavin DeBartolo out of contention due to a sprained ankle, and Angus Scott replaces David Fitter at tight head prop.

Also unavailable for selection through injury are rookie back rower, Richard Brown (ankle sprain), second row Rudi Vedelago (broken leg), Junior Pelesasa (broken leg) and Lachlan MacKay (knee ligaments).

Moving into the 22 for the first time is former Warringah Rat hooker Luke Holmes while wing/fullback Tajhon Mailata  and tight head prop David Te Moana return to the bench.

Emirates Western Force head coach John Mitchell said injury, an eye to the future and more mobility in the forward pack had influenced the changes to personnel.

‘We need more players active in their role against a team like the Crusaders, and players like O’Connor, Scott and Te Moana will give us that,’ Mitchell said.

‘We also need to be developing our depth and teamwork for 2007 and these guys have grown in ability and confidence and deserve their opportunity.’

Mitchell said his team would need to be more accurate in all areas for the entire game.

‘We respect the Crusaders as the benchmark of the competition, as they have been for many years.’

The squad is:

1. Gareth Hardy
2. Tai McIsaac
3. Angus Scott
4. Pat O’Connor
5. Nathan Sharpe (c)
6. David Pusey
7. Matt Hodgson
8. Scott Fava
9. Matt Henjak
10. Scott Daruda
11. Digby Ioane
12. Scott Staniforth
13. Josh Graham
14. Haig Sare
15. Cameron Shepherd


16. Luke Holmes
17. David Te Moana
18. Luke Doherty
19. Tim Davidson
20. Chris O’Young
21.Brock James
22. Tajhon Mailata

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