Coach Michael Foley will endeavour to create history tonight by lifting Western Force to victory in the opening game of a Super Rugby season for the first time in their existence.
But the club will have to do it without a host of big names and with seven new ones, and will need its pack, led by Pek Cowan in his first Super game as captain, to make an early mark in the game against Melbourne Rebels at AAMI Park.
"It's definitely going to start in the forwards," Cowan said.
"That's been our main focus, to try and get over their forwards, try and individualise some of their backs and reduce some of their options."
Foley agreed, but expects the game to be won at the back-end of the second half.
"As in all games, our forwards need to be particularly confrontational," he said. "We don't expect the game is going to be won in the first 20 minutes. It is going to be won in the last 20."
Back-rower Hugh McMeniman has joined captain Matt Hodgson and scrum-half Brett Sheehan on the injury list. Wallabies winger Nick Cummins and prop Salesi Ma'afu will play for the Force A side.
The rise of young Wallabies junior World Cup fly-half Kyle Godwin continues.
Only promoted to the Super squad this year, he starts with Winston Stanley in his preferred position of outside centre.
"Having Winston back in his specialist position puts him in a space where he's a lot happier," Foley said.
Whatever midfield partnership Foley picked was going to be untried and untested in Super Rugby after last year's cleanout and this combination will face former Force teammates Mitch Inman and Rory Sidey, who are not exactly known for their subtle or fancy footwork.
They will have a lot of heavy artillery coming their way.
Foley has gone for a Kiwi connection, selecting fly-half Sam Christie with No.9 Alby Mathewson ahead of playmaker Sias Ebersohn.
Not surprisingly, Foley went with tighthead prop Tetera Faulkner after encouraging form during the pre-season.
Faulkner made his debut against the Rebels in Melbourne in 2011 as a 22-year-old, but only made two appearances last season.
·Wallabies winger Joe Tomane has been left on the Brumbies' bench for tomorrow night's clash with Queensland Reds at Canberra Stadium.Brumbies coach Jake White has named Fijian flyer Henry Speight to start on the other wing to comeback hero Clyde Rathbone, who will make his return from a three-year retirement.
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