Force s famous five target Brumbies
Force's famous five target Brumbies

Western Force coach Michael Foley hopes the same back five he used in last season's shock win over the Brumbies will provide a repeat at nib Stadium tonight.

Dynamic flanker Chris Alcock is back in the starting line-up where he joins captain Matt Hodgson and No.8 Ben McCalman, while hard man Hugh McMeniman will team up with Sam Wykes in the second row.

It is the same quintet that set the tone for last year's final-round 21-15 victory that knocked the Brumbies out of a top-two berth and left them with a heavy travel schedule to New Zealand via South Africa that proved too much by the time they got to the final, in which they were beaten 27-22 by the Chiefs.

Last year the Force were able to nullify Brumbies flanker George Smith when he came off the bench.

Tonight they will be hope to have the same effect on their former teammate David Pocock on his first return to Perth, where he spent seven seasons maturing into the best openside flanker in world rugby.

The irony of the same make-up was not lost on Foley, who is happy to use two openside flankers, Alcock and Hodgson, in the run-on side.

"Those five guys know what it takes to win this game," Foley said. "Chris has an uncanny ability with the ball in his hands to break tackles but he has the ground skills of your traditional fetching seven.

"A lot of people sometimes question having two sevens but because of Chris' ball-carrying skills and Matt's ball-playing skills, there's a good balance."

The Force were hurt by the Waratahs' big ball carriers last week and will have to tighten up against the Brumbies.

Force blindside flanker Angus Cottrell and second-rower Wilhelm Steenkamp will come off the reserves bench later in the game and can be expected to attack the Brumbies line-out.

"The Brumbies have a very good line-out. We are going in with a plan fully expecting a great contest there," Foley said.

The Brumbies are still smarting from last year's loss.

Brumbies director of coaching Laurie Fisher said the Force had "frustrated" them out of that game and he wanted to sting the home side early.

But Foley said frustrating the Brumbies had not been discussed - then or now.

"The word frustration never came into our game plan. We just watched what the Brumbies did and tried to understand how we could make life difficult for them," he said.

The West Australian

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