Western Force’s Chance Peni ruled out for remainder of Super Rugby season with groin injury
April 21, 2017 2:00pm
Source: FOX SPORTS
THE Western Force have suffered a huge blow after it was confirmed star winger Chance Peni would likely miss the rest of the Super Rugby season.
In his first season since switching from rugby league, Peni had caught the eyes of national selectors after a red hot start to his Super Rugby career.
But on Friday morning Force coach Dave Wessels confirmed that the 23-year-old would likely miss the rest of the season after rupturing his groin during their come from behind over the Kings on April 9.
“Unfortunately Chance Peni has got a ruptured groin, so there’s a chance unfortunately that he doesn’t play again this year,” Wessels said.
“We’ll keep monitoring that one.”
Fortunately for the Force the outside backs positions are an area of strength for the club.
The Force currently have Wallabies rookie of the year Dane Haylett-Petty at their disposal, while Test outside back Luke Morahan returns on the wing to face the Chiefs on Saturday evening.
Curtis Rona has made steady progress since switching from the NRL and has recovered from concussion to take his place on the other wing, which sees young gun Alex Newsome drop back to the bench.
“It is (a big blow to lose Peni), but we’re lucky that we’re able to bring back a guy like Curtis Rona,” Wessels said.
“Curtis has been very successful in the NRL and knows his way to the tryline.
“Curtis had been out with concussion and is able to come back into the starting XV, so I feel like we’re quite blessed there.
“And obviously Alex Newsome’s done very well and this week he’ll be off the bench.
“But, again, part of that is about how we finish that last 20 minutes and Alex will be a key part of that as well.”
The Force will also go into the match against the Chiefs without impressive locking duo Matt Philip (foot) and Richie Arnold (calf), regular captain Ben McCalman (shoulder) as well as scrum-half Michael Ruru (ankle).
Spring Tour squad member Jono Lance will come off the bench with Luke Burton to start in the fly-half position.
Wessels said that Burton deserved an opportunity to start against the Chiefs after impressing off the bench against the Kings, and added that Lance would provide experience as a finisher with uncapped No 9 Mitch Short in-line for a debut.
“Luke’s a very talented rugby player — obviously he’s come through the development pathways here — so he’s a guy who has been a part of our system for a long time and he’s a local boy,” Wessels said.
“But if you look at our halves, Ian Prior’s played in two Super Rugby finals and he’s a very experienced player at 9.
“With Luke — although very talented — is less experienced at 10.
“The back end of the game, the last 15-20 minutes is going to be pretty important, so if I were to put Mitch and Luke on at the same time you’d end up with two pretty inexperienced halves, so some of thinking there is that Jono’s an old wise head, so when Mitch comes on the field he’ll be partnered with an older player in the halves.
“Some people put a premium on who starts and who finishes the game, but this is one of the games where the players that come off the bench to finish the game are as important as those who start.”
McCalman and Coleman are expected to be fit for the Force’s following match at home against the Lions.