Western Force coach Michael Foley wants his side to play without fear and enjoy their final Super Rugby match of the season against the Rebels in Melbourne tonight.
The last-placed Force farewell winger Nick Cummins, second-rower Sam Wykes, fly-half Zack Holmes and utility back Patrick Dellit and are up against a side looking for a record eight victories and its fifth straight home win.
They have beaten the Force in seven of their nine matches and won the last three meetings at home.
“Because of other results this year there might be times of anxiety, when there’s concern that we might make a mistake,” Foley said.
“It’s important that we really go out there and play without that fear, put in the maximum effort, play with a lot of heart and attitude and just enjoy that last opportunity to play together.”
Foley has been forced to shuffle his pack after No.8 Ben McCalman broke his cheekbone in last Friday’s loss to the Brumbies and second-rower Adam Coleman broke his toe in a training accident this week.
Angus Cottrell will start at No.8 while Chris Alcock makes his sixth appearance of the year at blindside flanker. Steve Mafi moves into the second row with Wykes and tighthead prop Tetera Faulkner returns to the front row.
Back-rower Brynard Stander is back from injury after last playing against the Rebels in the round five 21-17 loss at nib Stadium. Prop Oliver Hoskins and second-rower Wilhelm Steenkamp also return to the squad.
Foley said Coleman’s injury, caused by another playing landing on his foot at line-out training, was frustrating.
“It was pretty innocuous. Any time something like that happens it’s frustrating but the the way the season has gone you just have to shake your head,” Foley said.
“Chris Alcock has trained hard and will add a lot of energy and Brynard is excited after not playing for a few weeks.
“The Rebels are on a wave. They are hard working team, their halves (Nic Stirzaker and Jack Debreczeni) and Scott Higginbotham are the keys.
“Higginbotham is one of those rare players because he has got a bit of surprise about his as a forward. He can come up with big plays at keys moments.
“They have had the type of season we had last year, largely uninterrupted through pre-season, they’ve had continuity and built on that.”