McMeniman s return a boost for Force
McMeniman's return a boost for Force

Western Force forward Hugh McMeniman will return from a shoulder reconstruction to take part in the double-header trial matches against the Argentina Pampas and Samoa A sides at nib Stadium tomorrow.

His selection against the Samoan side is a surprise after Force coach Michael Foley said last week he did not expect the Wallaby to be ready for another two weeks.

The starting side against the Pampas gives a strong indication of Foley's likely starting line-up in the Force's Super Rugby season opener against the NSW Waratahs on February 23.

Foley said he was thrilled McMeniman was back and said he could play for 40 minutes.

"If he goes well he'll be considered for selection (against the Waratahs)," Foley said.

Foley said he wanted to test more combinations during the two trials.

"The Pampas are going to be a real challenge in the forwards and in many ways could be as big a challenge as we face all year," he said.

"It will certainly expose any of the cracks we have.

"Our defence is something we can pressure opposition with, but we want to be better with ball in hand."

Foley will be hoping for stiffer opposition than Samoa A showed at Lark Hill last Friday when the Force won 69-3.

"Last week was a good start and it's important that we step it up again this week," Foley said.

"There were noticeable im-provements in our contact and game understanding, and it's important we continue to focus on the detail required to ensure we're making the most of the opportunities we create.

"While our attitude in defence was very good, the Pampas 15 and Samoa A, with a game under their belt, will pose a far greater challenge this week."

  • Force starting 15 v Pampas: *Tetera Faulkner, Nathan Charles, Kieran Longbottom/Ollie Hoskins, Sam Wykes, Wilhelm Steenkamp, Angus Cottrell, Matt Hodgson (c), Ben McCalman, Alby Mathewson, Zack Holmes, Nick Cummins, Kyle Godwin, Junior Rasolea, Marcel Brache, Luke Morahan.

  • Force starting 15 v Samoa: *Pek Cowan, Heath Tessmann (c), Salesi Manu, Hugh McMeniman, Phoenix Battye, Rory Walton, Chris Alcock, Brynard Stander, Ian Prior, Sias Ebersohn, Ed Stubbs, Luke Burton, Chris Tuatara-Morrison, Patrick Dellit, Jayden Hayward.

  • Reserves: *Robbie Abel, Francois van Wyk, Chris Heiberg, Bruce Smith-Wright, Corey Thomas, Richard Hardwick, Kane Koteka, Ryan Louwrens, Dillyn Leyds, Brad Lacey, Dylan Sage, Dane Haylett-Petty.

The West Australian

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