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View Full Version : RugbyWA Academy teen Whittaker to make Force debut



travelling_gerry
16-04-09, 21:38
TEENAGE hooker Ben Whittaker will make his Super 14 debut for the Western Force in Saturday's clash against the NSW Waratahs.

The RugbyWA Academy member is on the bench, replacing Luke Holmes who has been dumped after last week's heartbreaking one point loss to the Hurricanes.

Whittaker, 19, is a product of Sydney's Barker College - the school that produced teammate Cameron Shepherd, who makes his return to the left wing after three weeks out with injury.

Wallaby fullback Shepherd, 24, has only managed four appearances this season following extensive ankle surgery last June.

He replaces Nick Cummins who has been sidelined for up to a month after suffering a hairline fracture in his lower left leg during the one-point loss to the Hurricanes.

The only other backline change sees the return of James O' Connor to inside centre, replacing Junior Pelesasa who strained a triceps muscle against the Hurricanes.

Australian U'20s representative Sam Wykes replaces Tom Hockings in the second row. Hockings goes to the bench.

Wykes who had off-season shoulder surgery has only had 28 minutes game time from the reserves bench in his two appearances this season.

The Force front row of Pek Cowan, Tai McIsaac and Ben Castle remains unchanged for the seventh consecutive week with tighthead Castle, 29, celebrating his 50th Super 14 match.

He made 42 appearances for the Chiefs before joining the Force during this season as the club's overseas marquee player.

The Waratahs are the only Australian team not to have lost to the Force. The closest they came was the 16-16 draw in the 2007 clash in Sydney.

Coach John Mitchell said his side was wary of the Waratahs after their defeat by the Bulls.

"The Waratahs have a particularly proud home record and they will certainly be keen to put last weeks performance behind them very quickly," he said.

"We know we're in for a contest that's for sure.

"They have been the best of the Australian provinces for the past couple of seasons and one of their hallmarks is their consistency. It's something we aspire too."

http://www.news.com.au/perthnow/story/0,21598,25341944-5005403,00.html