Emirates Western Force Coach John Mitchell has named his team for Sunday’s Investec Super 14 Week 4 clash with the Crusaders at Subiaco Oval.
The highly-anticipated home debut for the Emirates Western Force pits the Perth-based team against the thus far undefeated six-time Super Rugby champions.
Rugby WA announced that Mitchell has again made significant changes to his lineup, calling in newly-signed scrumhalf Chris O’Young and awarding Lachlan MacKay his first starting XV berth since 2006.
O’Young, who recently re-joined the Club after a stint with Magners League team Glasgow Warriors, will start in the blue number 9 jersey for the first time since last year’s Week 11 loss to the Chiefs.
MacKay, who has had his past two seasons decimated by leg injuries, has played just three matches in two seasons with the Club and is uncapped this season despite twice being named on the reserves bench in South Africa.
The 25-year-old utility has been named at inside centre, while Scott Staniforth assumes the right wing position from the injured Nick Cummins (shoulder).
Mitchell has continued his experimentation in the forwards, bringing AJ Whalley back into the starting XV at tighthead prop and switching Tamaiti Horua from Number 8 to blindside flanker.
19-year-old David Pocock returns to the openside flank, while Richard Brown has been recalled at Number 8.
Test hooker Tai McIsaac also returns to the starting team after playing from the reserves bench in last week’s victory over the Lions in Johannesburg.
Overall head to head: Played 2, Crusaders 1, Drawn 1.
Last met: 7 April 2007, Crusaders 53 def EWF 0, Jade Stadium, Christchurch.
Emirates Western Force v Crusaders
Sunday 9 March, 2008
Subiaco Oval, Perth
Emirates Western Force: 1. Gareth Hardy, 2.Tai McIsaac, 3. AJ Whalley, 4. Tom Hockings, 5. Nathan Sharpe (c), 6. Tamaiti Horua, 7. David Pocock,8. Richard Brown, 9. Chris O’Young, 10. Matt Giteau (vc), 11. Drew Mitchell, 12. Lachlan MacKay, 13. Ryan Cross, 14. Scott Staniforth, 15. Cameron Shepherd.
Reserves; 16. Luke Holmes, 17. Troy Takiari, 18. Sam Wykes, 19. Matt Hodgson, 20. James Stannard, 21. Scott Daruda, 22. Josh Tatupu.