AFTER KEEPING an unchanged squad for the past two rounds, the Western Force coaching team have made six changes for their Round 13 clash against the Rebels on Sunday.
The backline has seen a significant reshuffle with Ben Seymour moving into the playmaker role for his second start in the run on side this season while David Harvey moves to fullback.
Skills and Defence Coach Phil Blake said the disappointing results in South Africa encouraged them to go with the combination to add some thrust and good forward momentum that was lacking in previous games.
“We’ve moved Dave (Harvey) into fullback because he’s been exposed most of the year anyhow and we feel as if he can give us a bit more stability in the back there with his kicking game,” said Blake. “Seymour’s core skills are really suited to the way we want to play and we feel as if it’s right to give him a shot at 10 to build his experience in the role.”
After an extended period on the sidelines with injury Will Tupou is fully fit and returns to the side following standout performances for Pindan Premier Grade side Wanneroo and will pair up with Rory Sidey in the centres.
“It’s great to include Will in the side after he’s had a long layoff with injury and he’s been playing some great rugby at club level and we’ve brought Rory in off the bench so we’ll be expecting a big impact from those two in getting some good forward play,” Blake said.
The back row has seen a reshuffle with Ben McCalman making his return to the No.8 jersey after recovering from an arm injury aggravated during the game against the Stormers. Two time club fairest and best player Matt Hodgson has slotted back into the blindside flanker role with Richard Brown rested to recover from a knock to the knee sustained in the game against the Sharks.
Nick Cummins will also miss this week’s game with a quadriceps strain but Blake expects both to be available for selection next week.
The last time these sides met the Rebels made an explosive start and despite an impressive comeback from the Western Force they held on for a one point victory.
15 David Harvey, 14 Sam Wara, 13 Will Tupou, 12 Rory Sidey, 11 Napolioni Nalaga, 10 Ben Seymour, 9 Brett Sheehan, 1 Pek Cowan, 2 Nathan Charles, 3 Salesi Ma’afu, 4 Toby Lynn, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 6 Matt Hodgson, 7 David Pocock, 8 Ben McCalman
16 Salesi Manu, 17 Elvis Taione, 18 Phoenix Battye, 19 Lachlan McCaffrey, 20 Josh Holmes, 21 Winston Stanley, 22 Alfie Mafi