Emirates Western Force Coach John Mitchell has named his team for Friday night’s Investec Super 14 Week 8 clash with the Bulls at Subiaco Oval.
The WA side will be searching for its first home victory of the 2008 season when it hosts last year’s Super 14 champions, who are on the final leg of a winless Australasian tour.
Rugby WA announced that with the exception of one forced change, due to injury to inside back Scott Daruda, Mitchell has opted to retain the same starting lineup from last week’s disappointing 32-16 defeat to the Stormers in Perth.
The recently re-signed Daruda will be confined to the sidelines for at least two matches after suffering ankle ligament damage late in the first half of last week’s clash.
With Daruda unavailable, Lachlan MacKay will again take the reigns at inside centre.
MacKay will start his fourth match of the season in the number 12 jersey, while 21-year-old utility back Josh Tatupu rejoins the reserves bench.
Coach John Mitchell said it was not time to hit the panic button, despite his team’s heavy defeat to the Stormers.
“The method we’ve used throughout the season has served us well, so we aren’t about to toss it out after one poor performance,” said Mitchell.
“The team acknowledges that last week’s performance was unacceptable, but with the nature of the (Super 14) competition we can’t afford to dwell on one defeat,” he said.
Mitchell said the defending champions cannot be underestimated despite a slow start to the season.
“The Bulls are the defending champions and they have come into some form on tour.”
“They’ve got tremendous depth and quality across the park and they’ve got four straight matches at home coming up, so they’ll be keen to put some runs on the board before returning to South Africa,” he said.
Overall head to head: Played 2, EWF 1, Bulls 1.
Last met: 16 February 2007, EWF 30 def Bulls 27, Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, SA.
Emirates Western Force v Bulls, Friday 4 April, 2008
Starting XV: 1. Pek Cowan,2. Tai McIsaac,3. AJ Whalley, 4. Tom Hockings, 5. Nathan Sharpe (c), 6. Scott Fava, 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. Tamaiti Horua, 20. James Stannard, 21. Josh Tatupu, 22. Nick Cummins