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    Force back SA's Grant for Highlanders

    2017-05-18 09:42

    Cape Town - The Western Force have welcomed back a host of players for their clash with the Highlanders in Perth on Saturday.

    Kick-off is at 11:45 SA time.

    Tatafu Polota-Nau returns as the starting hooker after missing the Jaguares match last week while Jermaine Ainsley will start at tighthead prop after recovering from an elbow injury he suffered against the Crusaders in Round 5.

    Brynard Stander is the only change in the back row, as the ferocious ball runner is set to start at openside flank.

    Veteran Peter Grant will start at flyhalf after an impressive performance in Buenos Aires last week while Jono Lance will miss the game with an injured hand.

    Inside centre Bill Meakes will captain the side for the first time and becomes the 12th player to do so, as he lines up next to centre partner Curtis Rona.

    In the back three, Luke Morahan returns from a fractured cheekbone and will start at fullback.

    In the reserves, Anaru Rangi and Tetera Faulkner will look to bring plenty of impact off the bench, along with locks Lewis Carmichael and Matt Philip who makes his return from an injured foot. 

    Michael Ruru is the last inclusion in the reserves, returning from an ankle injury he suffered in Round 7 against the Kings.

    Western Force head coach David Wessels says the endeavour shown in Argentina was pleasing, and just reward after a tough performance, but his side will need to be back on task against an in-form Highlanders side.

    "Our performance in Argentina was built on the back of our intensity in our preparation. Our challenge is to match that again this week," he said. 

    "We’re excited to be back at home in front of the Sea of Blue."

    Teams:

    Force

    15 Luke Morahan, 14 Semisi Masirewa, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Bill Meakes (captain), 11 Alex Newsome, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Ian Prior, 8 Richard Hardwick, 7 Brynard Stander, 6 Ross Haylett-Petty, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Richie Arnold, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Pek Cowan 

    Substitutes: 16 Anaru Rangi, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Tetera Faulkner, 19 Matt Philip, 20 Lewis Carmichael, 21 Isireli Naisarani, 22 Michael Ruru, 23 James Verity-Amm

    Highlanders

    15 Matt Faddes, 14 Patrick Osborne, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Richard Buckman, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Marty Banks, 9 Kayne Hammington, 8 Elliott Dixon (captain), 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Garth Evans, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown

    Substitutes: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Aki Seiulu, 18 Guy Millar, 19 Joe Wheeler, 20 Jackson Hemopo, 21 Aaron Smith, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Rob Thompson

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    Fixtures

    Saturday, 17 February 2018
    • Stormers v Jaguares, Cape Town 15:05
    • Lions v Sharks, Emirates Airlines Park 17:15
    Friday, 23 February 2018
    • Highlanders v Blues, 08:35
    • Rebels v Reds, AAMI Park 10:45
    Saturday, 24 February 2018
    • Sunwolves v Brumbies, Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium 06:15
    • Crusaders v Chiefs, 08:35
    • Waratahs v Stormers, Allianz Stadium 10:45
    • Lions v Jaguares, Emirates Airlines Park 15:05
    • Bulls v Hurricanes, Loftus Versfeld 17:15

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