Force Welcome Back Skipper Against Rebels


The Force host the Rebels on Friday night in its Super Rugby AU round 5 clash at Leichhardt Oval in NSW on Friday 11:05 SA time. They will welcome back regular skipper Ian Prior and employ an exciting new centre combination in Richard Kahui and Kyle Godwin. Head coach Tim Sampson has made a total of eight changes and a positional switch from last week’s squad who lost 0-24 against the Brumbies. The Force are currently at the bottom of the log and are still looking for their first win after three games in the Super Rugby AU competition.

Kahui – played his first Force game last week and showed his class coming off the bench against the Brumbies, starts at the inside centre with Henry Taefu shifting to the bench. The former All Black will bring calm and composure to the attack as the Force look to create more line breaks against the Rebels.

Wallaby Godwin, who has been introduced from the bench over the past three weeks, has shown great form and is promoted to the starting XV at outside centre. His hard-running game, as well as his ability to create space and opportunity for his wings, will be vital to the Force’s cause on Friday. Godwin replaces the in-form Marcel Brache who shifts to the left wing with the regular number 11 Brad Lacey moving to the bench.

In another change among the backs, scrumhalf and captain Ian Prior returns to lead the team after missing the Brumbies match through injury. He replaces Nick Frisby – who is included amongst the reserves. Prior has been a stalwart for the Force in recent seasons and his kicking game will be important to give his team forward momentum.

In a solitary change in the forward pack, Chris Heiberg has been promoted to start at loosehead prop after some consistent performances coming off the bench in recent weeks. He replaces Angus Wagner who is nursing a hamstring injury who is replaced by South African Cabous Eloff on the bench. Veteran Pek Cowan makes his long-awaited Western Force return on the bench.

Amongst the reserves, second-rower Johan Bardoul returns to the squad after missing the matches against the Brumbies and the Reds. He replaces Ollie Atkins who is being rested.

Western Force: 1. Chris Heiberg, 2. Feleti Kaitu'u, 3. Kieran Longbottom, 4. Jeremy Thrush, 5. Fergus Lee-Warner, 6. Henry Stowers, 7. Tevin Ferris, 8. Brynard Stander, 9. Ian Prior, 10. Jono Lance, 11. Marcel Brache, 12. Richard Kahui, 13. Kyle Godwin, 14. Byron Ralston, 15. Jack McGregor. Replacements: 16. Andrew Ready, 17. Pek Cowan, 18. Tom Sheminant, 19. Johan Bardoul, 20. Ollie Callan, 21. Nick Frisby, 22. Henry Taefu, 23. Brad Lacey.