Flanker Kane Koteka will make his starting debut when the Western Force take on the Vodacom Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday.
Koteka, the 1st player to graduate to Super Rugby from the Perth-based franchise’s Future Force academy program, will run on for his 4th cap having made his debut against the Hurricanes in Round 3.
The 21-year-old will start as part of a new-look back row alongside blindside flanker Steve Mafi and No 8 Ben McCalman.
In the second row, Adam Coleman completes his comeback from a hip injury with his return to the starting 15, packing down alongside captain Sam Wykes.
South African-born playmaker Sias Ebersohn makes his return to the run-on side at flyhalf and will start inside the new midfield pairing of Luke Burton (inside centre) and Kyle Godwin (outside centre).
Western Force flyhalf Sias Ebersohn says he has a burning desire to play Test rugby and wouldn’t mind if it’s not for his country of birth.
The 25-year-old is having a stellar season for this year’s Super Rugby surprise packages, who have won seven out of 10 games and currently sit in a healthy fifth spot on the overall Super Rugby log and in with a real shot at making the playoffs.
A move back to the Cheetahs may not be the wisest move for Western Force flyhalf Sias Ebersohn.
Ebersohn is having a stellar season for this year’s Super Rugby surprise packages, and last weekend returned to haunt his former team-mates by kicking 13 points in a 23-16 win in Bloemfontein.
He held his own against opposite number Johan Goosen – ironically the player who kept him out of the Cheetahs team a couple of seasons ago – which eventually led to Ebersohn’s move abroad.
Former South African Schools flyhalf Sias Ebersohn left his country of birth under a cloud, seemingly unable to convert his potential into form at Super Rugby level.
However, the 25-year-old made a triumphant return to Bloemfontein at the weekend – producing a mature performance and played a key role in the Western Force’s 23-16 Super Rugby Round 13 win over his former team, the Cheetahs.
Force coach Michael Foley commended the No 10, who left Bloemfontein for Perth two years ago after being overlooked – with Springbok Johan Goosen the preferred choice.
Ben McCalman will return to the starting line-up when the Force takes on the Reds at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
McCalman, who returns from a two-week suspension incurred from his side’s 31-29 win over the Highlanders, has been named at the back of the Force scrum, while Angus Cottrell reverts back to the blindside flank in the only changes to the Force line-up.
Seasoned Boland flyhalf Elgar Watts will join the Cheetahs at the end of November for the 2013 season. Initially the Cheetahs hoped to have Sias Ebersohn released to the Cheetahs after the Super Rugby season, but new Force coach Foley wasn’t amenable to such an arrangement. Hence the Cheetahs will have Johan Goosen, Elgar Watts and Francois Brummer as the flyhalves to choose from, with Willie le Roux, and Riaan Smit able to slot in at flyhalf in an emergency.
Cheetahs flyhalf Sias Ebersohn is the second South African rugby player to have signed with an Australian side in two years, having signed a two year deal with the Western Force.
Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske has revealed that he will start Sias Ebersohn at flyhalf against the Chiefs this weekend regardless of whether Johan Goosen recovers from a shoulder injury or not.
Welcome back to some of the regulars, like sharky_forever, Loosehead and Lion4ever… and to Webmonster GBS, recover quickly! The excitement and anticipation is building as we near the practice runs. It is thus fitting, that we look at the position, in which we are all of a sudden blessed with numerous contenders for the Bok 10 jumper. The Cheetahs are very lucky to have some exciting players in this position. A welcome change indeed!
The Cheetahs have produced a number of Springboks in this position, and some, it could be argued should have gotten more chances to play. Guys like Jannie de Beer, that only played a handful of test matches could have contributed more. Ironically, the Cheetahs are the SA franchise with arguably the most talent and depth in the flyhalf channel heading into the 2012 Super Rugby Competition.
Leopards (9) 9 / WP (23) 47 (Final Score)
The Platinum Leopards hosted DHL WP at Profert Olën Park, Potchefstroom at 19:10 SA Time. This was the match thread for discussion of the game. The match was broadcast live on SuperSport 1, SHD & CSN on TV in SA.
Mission accomplished, 5 Log points for DHL WP.