One change for home semi
Leading into a historic National Rugby Championship home semi-final, head coach Tim Sampson has opted for selection consistency when the Force takes on Brisbane City at UWA Sports Park this Saturday.
The newly crowned Minor Premiers have made just one change to last weeks starting XV.
“The team are excited to play finals footy, it’s just the same routine, the same language and the same behaviours this week but it is nice to have that feeling of being able to prepare here at home and then play a semi-final at home,” Sampson said.
“It is an advantage to play at home, we like playing at UWA Sports Park so I think it’s a huge bonus for us for sure.”
Dynamic centre and WA product Nick Jooste returns after recovering from a shoulder complaint which saw him miss the last round of the regular season. Jooste will link up with powerful centre Pama Fou, who will be looking to carry on his try-scoring form after crossing twice last weekend against Sydney.
“Nick had a little one-week injury. He nearly made it last week for the game against Sydney, but we thought we would leave him and get him right for this week, which is why he comes straight back in,” Sampson said.
Explosive Number 8 Brynard Stander just missed out on selection this week after failing to recuperate from a knee injury sustained against Brisbane two weeks ago. However, Sampson is hopeful the hard-running South African will be ready for the final, should the Force win this weekend.
Captain Andrew Deegan will continue his pairing in the halves with last weekend’s Retravision Man of the Match Issak Fines, both will be looking to maintain their outstanding form in the finals.
Sampson has retained the same starting pack that performed so strongly last weekend in the Force’s 24-point victory over Sydney, opting for cohesiveness over minor changes.
“Consistency is important for us. The forwards played really well last week so hopefully, they can put in another polished performance upfront. Setting a good platform is going to be really important for us this game,” Sampson said.
Selections on the bench have again highlighted the depth of the Force squad, with Wests prop Dom Hardman coming in for Chris Heiberg as front row cover.
Dynamic hooker Andrew Ready returns to the squad in place of Feleti Kaitu’u and Chris Tuatara-Morrison will provide experience and an extra ball-carrying threat as the game progresses.
In: Nick Jooste, Dom Hardman, Andrew Ready
Out: Chris Heiberg, Feleti Kaitu’u, Chris Miller
Semi-Final | Western Force vs Brisbane City
UWA Sports Park
Activities from 11am | Kick-off 12pm.
Broadcasted LIVE on Fox Sports and streamed LIVE on Kayo and rugby.com.au