Super Rugby Round 14 - Force v Sharks
Western Force start Alby Mathewson
ESPN Staff
May 16, 2013
The Force's Alby Mathewson looks to pass the ball against the Reds, Western Force v Queensland Reds, Super Rugby, nib Stadium, Perth, May 4, 2013
Alby Mathewson makes his 12th start of the season for Western Force © Getty Images

Alby Mathewson will return to Western Force's starting line-up to face the Sharks in Super Rugby round 14 at nib Stadium on Friday night, the scrum-half's promotion from the bench the only change to the 22-man squad that pushed the Chiefs in their 22-21 loss to the reigning champions. Mathewson had previously started in each of the Force's previous 11 matches.

The Force's fixture against the Sharks is the first of five successive matches at nib Stadium in Perth, with Super Rugby games to come against the Highlanders, New South Wales Waratahs and Brumbies before they host the British & Irish Lions, and coach Michael Foley believes the games provide an opportunity to demonstrate the progress the squad has made this season.

"After undertaking an extensive travel schedule this season, the challenge is to strive for greater consistency in our last five performances at home." Foley said.

"I'm extremely pleased in the way the boys have continued to challenge themselves through what's been difficult circumstances over recent weeks. The performances against the Reds and again against the Chiefs indicates the extra effort they've put into preparing themselves to play for each other. While we were disappointed with the result against the Chiefs, I was proud of the character the boys demonstrated in outscoring an excellent attacking side like the Chiefs two tries to one.

"While we continue to develop our game, our immediate challenge is to back up our previous two performances with the same outstanding effort against a dangerous Sharks side tomorrow night."

Force: Jayden Hayward; Patrick Dellit, Ben Jacobs, Kyle Godwin, Nick Cummins; Sias Ebersohn, Alby Mathewson; Ben McCalman, Chris Alcock, Matthew Hodgson (captain); Sam Wykes, Toby Lynn; Kieran Longbottom, Heath Tessmann, Pekahou Cowan. Replacements: James Hilterbrand, Tetera Faulkner, Rory Walton, Richard Brown, Brett Sheehan, Junior Rasolea, Sam Norton-Knight.

The Force were undone by Aaron Cruden's boot in Pukekohe (video available only in Australia)
© ESPN Australia / New Zealand

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