EMIRATES WESTERN FORCE MEDIA RELEASE
Tuesday, 3 July 2012
The Emirates Western Force has named their 24-man squad to travel to New Zealand to contest their final two FxPro Super Rugby matches against the Blues in Auckland and the Crusaders in Christchurch.
The squad will travel without captain and flanker David Pocock, who has been ruled out of the final two matches after succumbing to a groin strain incurred during his side’s match against the Brumbies on Saturday night.
Nathan Sharpe, who farewelled his home crowd on Saturday, will lead the squad in Pocock’s absence and will finish his West Australian provincial career as he started it, as captain of the Emirates Western Force.
No.8 Matt Hodgson will also miss the two-match New Zealand tour after damaging ligaments in his ankle against the Brumbies.
The vacancies in the back row provides an opportunity for rising star Angus Cottrell to return to the 22-man squad for the sixth time this season, while Palmyra back-rower and last year’s PG Hampshire Medallist, Anare Koliavu has also been called into the squad. The 29-year-old former Bankwest Rugby Academy member previously represented the Fijian development team, the Fiji Warriors against the NSW Waratahs and Melbourne Rebels in 2011.
GPS tighthead prop Ruan Smith and Sydney University lock Oliver Atkins, who were both inclusions for the Emirates Western Force side that fronted the Brumbies, will remain with the squad and will chase their FxPro Super Rugby debuts across the Tasman, while former Australian Under 20 front-rowers Tetera Faulkner and Ben Whittaker have also been named.
The Emirates Western Force has retained Saturday night’s starting backline for the tour, while young flyhalf Kyle Godwin will be in line to receive his first cap since returning from the IRB Junior World Championship in South Africa with the Australian Under 20 side.
Former Blues inside centre Winston Stanley has also been included and will be seeking to play his first match against his former club, where his brother Benson is still contracted, since joining the Emirates Western Force this season.
Emirates Western Force Defence & Skills Coach Phil Blake says his side will be looking to put its injury toll to one side and finish the season on a winning note.
“It’s certainly not ideal but rugby is a contact sport and it’s the nature of the game that you will pick up injuries,” he said. “We’re certainly not on our own on that front but we won’t be using it as an excuse for anything less than a winning performance on Saturday night.
“We’re very confident in the guys we’ve brought in and we know they’ll help us get the job done. Most of them have had experience playing at this level or against similar opposition and, for those guys not regularly in the squad, this is a great opportunity for them to show us and others what they can do in the final two matches of the season.”
The Emirates Western Force’s will play the Blues in Auckland (7 July) and Crusaders in Christchurch (14 July).
Emirates Western Force squad for New Zealand
Oliver Atkins, Richard Brown, Nathan Charles, Angus Cottrell, Pek Cowan, Nick Cummins, Patrick Dellit, Tetera Faulkner, Kyle Godwin, Josh Holmes, Anare Koliavu, Toby Lynn, Alfie Mafi, Salesi Manu, Lachlan McCaffrey, Napolioni Nalaga, Ben Seymour, Nathan Sharpe, Brett Sheehan, Rory Sidey, Ruan Smith, Winston Stanley, Will Tupou, Ben Whittaker.