The Western Force have named a weakened side to face the British & Irish Lions tomorrow in Perth for the tour’s first game on Australian soil.
With only two men in the Wallabies squad – Nick Cummins and Ben McCalman – the Lions were expecting to face a strong Super Rugby outfit but with another game on Sunday against the Waratahs
As a result, head coach Michael Foley has opted to make 13 changes from the side that played last in the Super Rugby against the Highlanders.
Despite a lot of inexperience in the back line, Foley will hope former Wallabies Matt Hodgson, Brett Sheehan and Salesi Ma’afu will steady the ship as most of the other established players are rested.
The Force only recorded three wins from their 14 Super Rugby games but two of them came against the Crusaders in Perth and the Reds away.
“Ideally, you would like a week between games rather than four days,” Foley said. “I think just to be able to sit down and pick a team and reassess and pick another team.
“We have had to juggle our squad across two games. Realistically, we weren’t going to be able to meet the challenge and do it justice by trying to pick the same 22 guys twice.
“Our guys play for each other, but there are some things in our game we need to work on.
“If you look at our defence and how hard we fight in that area, we are going to be tested tomorrow night, there are going to be some enormous challenges that the Lions are going to pose but we have developed a very strong defensive mentality. Our work at the breakdown has improved through the year and there have been some good positive signs in attack.”
Western Force : Sam Christie; Dane Haylett-Petty, Ed Stubbs, Chris Tuatara-Morrison, Corey Brown; Sam Norton-Knight, Brett Sheehan; Salesi Manu, James Hilterbrand, Salesi Ma’afu; Toby Lynn, Phoenix Battye; Angus Cottrell, Matt Hodgson (Capt.), Richard Brown.
Replacements: Hugh Roach, Sione Kolo, Tim Metcher, Ben Matwijow, Lachlan McCaffrey, Alby Mathewson, Nick Haining, Junior Rasolea
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