Western Force v Hurricanes
nib Stadium, Perth, Friday, 10.05pm (AEDT)
Last meeting: Round 15 2011 - Hurricanes 34 bt Force 28 at Showgrounds Oval
Head-to-head: Played 6 Force 1 Hurricanes 5
In Perth: Played 2 Force 1 Hurricanes 1
Referee: Jaco Peyper (RSA)
TV: Live, FoxSports 3
Tab Sportsbet: Force $1.90 Hurricanes $1.90
Greg Growden writes: The Force are short of a backline, not surprising when their No 1 five-eighth had to be farewelled. But they overcame that to worry the Reds last round, and as long as David Pocock continues being dominant, they could topple the Hurricanes.
AAP writes: Nathan Sharpe becomes the first player to 150 Super caps in this intriguing encounter where the home side will be desperate to ensure their former skipper celebrates in style. The winless Force were much improved on their round one form against the Brumbies in their 35-20 loss to the Reds last weekend but still have a long way to go in fixing their spluttering attack. Halves Brett Sheehan and James Stannard remain together and must repay coach Richard Graham’s faith by better utilising their backline. The Hurricanes have shown they can score tries out of nothing against the Stormers and Lions and have momentum following a last-gasp win in Johannesburg. They’ve found a good one in gifted playmaker Beauden Barrett.
Gifted ... Hurricanes rookie five-eight Beauden Barrett. Photo: AP
Western Force: Cameron Shepherd, Nick Cummins, Patrick Dellit, Rory Sidey, Napolioni Nalaga, James Stannard, Brett Sheehan, Matt Hodgson, David Pocock (capt), Richard Brown, Nathan Sharpe, Toby Lynn, Salesi Ma'afu, Nathan Charles, Kieran Longbottom. Reserves: Ben Whittaker, Pek Cowan, Sam Wykes, Angus Cottrell, Justin Turner, Ben Seymour, Alfie Mafi.
Hurricanes: Andre Taylor, Cory Jane, Conrad Smith (captain), Tim Bateman, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara, Victor Vito, Jack Lam, Faifili Levave, Jason Eaton, Jeremy Thrush, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Dane Coles, Ben May. Reserves: Motu Matu'u, Michael Bent, James Broadhurst, Brad Shields, Chris Eaton, Daniel Kirkpatrick, Charlie Ngatai.