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Pocock in Force's sights

Date

Xavier Lacanna

Brumbies recruit David Pocock.

Brumbies recruit David Pocock. Photo: Getty Images

ACT Brumbies captain Ben Mowen expects outstanding No.7 David Pocock to come in for plenty of stick from his former teammates in Friday night's trial against the Western Force.

The two sides will square off at Darwin's Rugby Park in Pocock's first clash against the Force since his off-season switch to the nation's capital.

''I'll say he'll probably get a little niggle but, a guy with his experience, he's probably been targeted a lot before,'' Mowen said.

Mowen said most of the squad would play about 40 minutes each because of the high humidity expected.

Former Wallaby winger Clyde Rathbone is also expected to start in his first match back since his 2009 retirement.

Rathbone was capped 49 times for the Brumbies and 26 times for Australia before a series of injuries curtailed the outside back's career.

The South African-born Rathbone battled with weight gain and depression for several years before getting fit and announcing a return to the game last year.

Mowen said the 31-year-old would get some time to show his wares.

''He's going to split his time between outside centre and wing as well,'' Mowen said.

''He's played a lot of outside centre at school, so he's pretty comfortable there.''

The Force finished last in the Australian conference last year with just three wins, marking another year they were well out of finals reckoning.

There is no indication things will get any easier for the franchise entering its eighth year in Super Rugby, the loss of Pocock and the retirement of Wallabies stalwart Nathan Sharpe hardly helping the cause.

But new Force captain Matt Hodgson says the squad, which contains 11 new faces including ex-Waratah Sam Norton-Knight and towering former Reds lock Hugh McMeniman, is only looking ahead.

''It is a new leaf for us,'' Hodgson said.

''We started fresh when we all came together early in the pre-season so we sort of wiped what we could from last year out of our memories and we are starting afresh.'' AAP

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