Young gun to start for Force against Crusaders
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Western Force head coach Tim Sampson has made four changes to the starting line-up ahead of their encounter against the Crusaders in Christchurch.
Homegrown talent Ollie Callan, 20, will make his Super Rugby starting debut against the Crusaders, with the Wanneroo junior named at No.8, as Tim Anstee moves to the bench. The loose forward has seven caps to his name already, having made his debut last year against the Waratahs.
It will be a momentous occasion for Ian Prior, as the club stalwart is set to make his 100th Super Rugby appearance on Friday, with the influential scrumhalf named on the bench.
Feleti Kaitu’u returns to the starting line-up, with Andrew Ready remaining in the matchday 23. Jake Strachan starts at fullback, with Rob Kearney failing his HIA test after the Hurricanes game.
Kuridrani starts at outside centre, with Richard Kahui moving to the left wing, as Jordan Olowofela shifts to the bench.
The Force also welcome the return of Jake McIntyre after recovering from an injury sustained against the Highlanders in Round Two.
Sampson is delighted for Callan and is looking forward to seeing a more physical approach from his side.
“It’s great for a local lad who has come through our pathway to get an opportunity to debut as a run-on player against the Crusaders. He brings a lot of energy and he has no fear,” Sampson said.
“We’ll be looking for physicality, that’s the type of response we need on both sides of the ball. We need to be more aggressive.”
Western Force: 15 Jake Strachan, 14 Toni Pulu, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kyle Godwin (captain), 11 Richard Kahui, 10 Domingo Miotti, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Ollie Callan, 7 Kane Koteka, 6 Fergus Lee-Warner, 5 Sitaleki Timani, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Feleti Kaitu’u, 1 Tom Robertson.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Angus Warner, 18 Greg Holmes, 19 Ryan McCauley, 20 Tim Anstee, 21 Ian Prior, 22 Jack McGregor, 23 Jordan Olowofela.
Date: Friday, June 4
Venue: Addington Showgrounds, Christchurch
Kick-off: 19.05 (15.05 AWST; 07.05 GMT)
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant referees: James Doleman, Brendon Pickerill
TMO: Chris Hart