Vodacom Super Rugby
O'Connor stays at flyhalf
Perth - The Western Force have named an unchanged run-on side but with former Wallaby prop Matt Dunning on their bench for Saturday's Vodacom Super Rugby clash against the Sharks.
The Force impressed in their one-point loss to the Reds a fortnight ago and coach Richard Graham has decided to back the same XV against the unbeaten South African outfit.
However, Graham has been forced into one change to the bench, with Dunning replacing the injured Kieran Longbottom.
Wallabies winger James O'Connor will again turn out at flyhalf as recruit Willie Ripia struggles to overcome a lingering foot injury.
Graham hopes the team can build on the combinations developed against the Reds and in training during last week's bye.
"That team now has had the ability to train and prepare together throughout the bye week and into this week," Graham said.
"We go into the game knowing the way we want to play and having a better understanding of each other's qualities.
"It is important that we're competitive and the boys are fighting for their positions and I think that has definitely been evident in our preparation.
"It is also equally important to show confidence in the group that you believe are going to get the job done."
With the Sharks beating the Cheetahs and Blues in the opening two rounds, Graham acknowledged Saturday will be a tough test for the Force.
"Their performances over the past two games have been very good, they're a big physical side and certainly if you look statistically at their games the forward pack plays a huge part in their attack and where they'll look to establish dominance," Graham said.
"For us it's great to be back at home, we receive fantastic support from our sea of blue and are looking forward to playing in front of them on Saturday night."
Meanwhile, Force hooker Ben Whittaker has re-signed with the club until the end of 2013 just days after winger Nick Cummins and lock Sam Wykes finalised two-year extensions.
Whittaker, 21, played three games for the Force in 2009 before being upgraded to the main list, where he added another nine caps last season.
"We believe Ben is part of the best young group of hookers in Australia and it was important for us to retain him and ensure competition between him, Nathan Charles and Siliva Siliva continues," Graham said.
"That depth will make them better and consequently make us better."TeamsWestern Force:
15 Cameron Shepherd, 14 Nick Cummins, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Gene Fairbanks, 11 David Smith, 10 James O'Connor, 9 Brett Sheehan, 8 Richard Brown, 7 David Pocock, 6 Matt Hodgson, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Ben McCalman, 3 Tim Fairbrother, 2 Ben Whittaker, 1 Pek Cowan
Substitutes: 16 Nathan Charles, 17 Matt Dunning, 18 Sam Wykes, 19 Tevita Metuisela, 20 James Stannard, 21 Alfie Mafi, 22 Rory SideySharks: