Vodacom Super 14
Force injury 'curse' continues
Melbourne - The Force's injury problems showed no signs of letting up after outside centre Ryan Cross became the latest player to be sidelined ahead of their Super 14 rugby clash against the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday.
Cross has been ruled out with a shoulder injury and joins winger Cameron Shepherd (thigh, six weeks), former Springbok Andre Pretorius (hamstring, season) and fellow Wallabies David Pocock (finger, six weeks) and Richard Brown (shoulder, six weeks) on the sidelines.
Coach John Mitchell has been forced to bring in two debutants, Mitch Inman to replace Cross, and Ben McCalman into a cobbled-together back row including flanker Matt Hodgson and Sam Wykes at number eight.
"It's been a bit tricky on the whiteboard the last few days looking at situations, but we have a plan and will be committed to it," Mitchell told the Force's website (rugbywa.com.au). "We'll give it a good shake."
The Force have also shaken up their forwards, with Tim Fairbrother starting at tighthead prop and Matt Dunning shifting to the loosehead side.
Lock Tom Hockings has been promoted to the second row alongside captain Nathan Sharpe.