Super Rugby
Western Force welcome back big guns
June 27, 2014
Hugh McMeniman will wear Western Force's No.6 jumper © Getty Images
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Western Force have recalled former All Blacks scrum-half Alby Mathewson and rampaging forward Hugh McMeniman for the crunch Super Rugby fixture against the Blues at nib Stadium in Perth on Saturday night.

Mathewson and McMeniman have been thrust back into the starting line-up after recovering from respective long-term ankle and shoulder injuries, while outside centre Marcel Brache (ankle) and No.8 Ben McCalman (groin) are other vital inclusions.

Utility back Junior Rasolea has been named on the bench after recovering from his broken arm, but winger Luke Morahan, flanker Chris Alcock and inside centre Kyle Godwin remain sidelined with their respective hamstring, shoulder and knee injuries.

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McMeniman has been named in the back-row in place of Angus Cottrell, who suffered season-ending ankle damage in the Force's loss to the Crusaders late last month. Mathewson, who hasn't played since April 12, will come up against the Blues for the first time since leaving the Auckland-based franchise in 2012.

The seventh-placed Force can guarantee a maiden finals berth with wins over the Blues, Reds and Brumbies over the next three weeks, but two wins might be enough for them to secure a top-six berth. "It's good to have a number of players returning from injury as it intensifies competition within the squad as we move into the next three games," Force coach Michael Foley said. . "The Blues are a dangerous attacking side and the way we've defended, which has given us good go-forward this season, will again be an important part of a good performance on Saturday night."

Force: Jayden Hayward; Dane Haylett-Petty, Marcel Brache, Chris Tuatara-Morrison, Nick Cummins; Sias Ebersohn, Alby Mathewson; Ben McCalman, Matt Hodgson (captain), Hugh McMeniman; Adam Coleman, Sam Wykes; Kieran Longbottom, Nathan Charles, Pek Cowan. Replacements: Heath Tessmann, Tetera Faulkner, Oliver Hoskins, Wilhelm Steenkamp, Brynard Stander, Ian Prior, Zack Holmes, Solomoni Rasolea.

© AAP

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