Sharpe, Pocock take on Reds

2011-02-18 13:53

Sydney - Western Force captain Nathan Sharpe and flanker David Pocock have been named in squad which will take on the Reds at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.

Neither player featured in the trial matches last week, Sharpe recovering from a hernia operation while Pocock was rested after a massive workload during the international season.

Young star James O'Connor will take the playmaker responsibilities after New Zealand recruit Willie Ripia was ruled out with a foot injury.

Ripia hurt his foot in the club's opening trial match against the Australian Barbarians a week and a half ago and has been on light duties since.
"At this stage it hasn't responded to treatment," Head Coach Richard Graham said.

"We're being conservative in our management of Willie given that the season runs through to July. Coincidentally a group of leading foot specialists were in Perth for a conference this week and we were able to chat to them about it and will continue to manage it as instructed."

Graham said he had full faith in moving O'Connor to ten, a role that will see him pitted directly against good friend and Wallabies team-mate Quade Cooper.

"I've very comfortable with James moving into that role. He played in that position a number of times last season and more recently in the trial matches so we're confident he'll do a good job for us," said Graham.

The Western Force squad enjoyed a quality final training run on Friday morning in Perth before flying out for Brisbane at midday.
"Going into the game we're confident in our preparations and happy with where we're at as a group," Graham said.


15 Peter Hynes, 14 Rod Davies, 13 Will Chambers, 12 Anthony Faingaa, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Ed Quirk, 6 James Horwill, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Van Humphries, 3 James Slipper, 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Ben Daley

Substitutes: 16 James Hanson, 17 Greg Holmes, 18 Scott Higginbotham, 19 Beau Robinson, 20 Ben Lucas, 21 Mike Harris, 22 Aidan Toua

Western 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 Ben McCalman, 4 Nathan Sharpe (c), 3 Tim Fairbrother, 2 Ben Whittaker, 1 Pek Cowan

Substitutes: 16 Nathan Charles, 17 Kieran Longbottom, 18 Sam Wykes, 19 Tevita Metuisela, 20 James Stannard, 21 Alfie Mafi, 22 Rory Sidey