Anstee returns to starting line-up against Waratahs

· Super Rugby - AU
by Rugby WA Media

The Western Force is searching for its second consecutive Super Rugby AU victory on Saturday night in Round 9 against the NSW Waratahs at HBF Park.

Following a dramatic 16-15 win over the Melbourne Rebels away from home, head coach Tim Sampson has made three changes to the starting 15, with Kyle Godwin again leading the side out as captain.

Having scored the all-important try in the final moments last Friday to set up the winning conversion for the Force, Tim Anstee returns to the starting line-up in place of Fergus Lee-Warner.

Anstee has spent the week at the Wallabies training camp on the Gold Coast alongside Sitaleki Timani and Feleti Kaitu’u, who all maintain their starting spots.

Brynard Stander is recalled to the 15 at number eight in place of Tomás Lezana, who is out with a foot injury sustained against the Rebels.

After an outstanding display in his first Super Rugby start for the Force, including three successful penalty goals and the winning conversion, Argentinian international Domingo Miotti remains at 10.

Richard Kahui starts on the right wing with Byron Ralston unable to play following his head knock in the first half last week. Ralston has undergone the head injury assessment protocol this week and will look to return for Round 10.

Homegrown outside back Grason Makara has made the matchday 23, with the Kalgoorlie local in line to make his Super Rugby debut in front of friends and family.

Sampson is delighted to have Makara involved this weekend.

“Grason’s a local product who has come through our Future Force pathway and academy system over the years. This is his second year with the pro squad and he’s a tough player who is very good on his feet and defensively sound. This is a reward for Grason and an opportunity he deserves,” Sampson explained.

“I’m expecting a very different match compared to last Friday. The Waratahs play a different style with plenty of width, so our defence will have to be on point to negate that threat.

“It’s fantastic to have HBF Park back at 100% capacity and I know the players can’t wait to see another big crowd with the Sea of Blue behind us.”