Classy backs Kyle Godwin and Luke Morahan will make their return in a Perth Sprit side loaded with Western Force teammates for the NRC clash with Brisbane City at McGillivray Oval on Sunday.
The Spirit squad has 14 starters and four reserves with Super Rugby experience.
Centre Godwin, called into the Wallabies squad this week, is in his first game after suffering a knee injury against the Cheetahs in May while winger Morahan will make his first start since a serious hamstring problem sidelined him for four months.
The Spirit side includes current Wallabies, Force captain and flanker Matt Hodgson and prop Pek Cowan. Two other front-rowers, prop Tetera Faulkner and hooker Heath Tessmann who were called into the Wallabies training group for the Test match against South Africa at Patersons Stadium next week, will also start.
Second-rower Sam Wykes will captain the side while Australian under-20 representative Ross Haylett-Petty, the only starting player without Super experience, is at No. 8. Brynard ‘Rhino’ Stander completes the back row
Justin Turner and Dillyn Leyds are the starting halves, winger Marcel Brache, centre Junior Rasolea and full-back Dane Haylett-Petty, who will play alongside his brother Ross for the first time at this level, make up the backline.
Reserves are Robbie Abel, Francois van Wyk, Oliver Hoskins, Corey Thomas, Richard Hardwick, Zack Holmes, Ian Prior and Va’a Mailei.
Coach Kevin Foote said the team would be looking to build on their first round 28-23 win over the Canberra Vikings.
“The guys did a fantastic job last weekend against a strong Vikings line-up and now we have to keep that momentum going,” Foote said.
“The guys who got their opportunity last weekend showed a lot of spirit to wrestle back momentum in that game, and they’ve begun showing the depth of talent we have here in Western Australia.
“This weekend is an important match for a number of guys returning to the field from injury, while it also provides an opportunity to start honing some skills ahead of next year’s Super Rugby competition.
“While we have a large number of Force players returning this week, it’s really important that throughout the competition we’re still providing those playing opportunities for our local aspiring players, and we’re very committed to doing that.”
Spirit: Pek Cowan, Heath Tessmann, Tetera Faulkner, Sam Wykes, Rory Walton, Brynard Stander, Matt Hodgson, Ross Haylett-Petty, Justin Turner, Dillyn Leyds, Marcel Brache, Kyle Godwin, Junior Rasolea, Luke Morahan, Dane Haylett-Petty. Reserves: Robbie Abel, Francois van Wyk, Oliver Hoskins, Corey Thomas, Richard Hardwick, Ian Prior, Zack Holmes, Va’a Mailei.