Force’s Hodgson set for Sharks rugby clash

Western Force No.8 Matt Hodgson has recovered from concussion to take his place in an unchanged line-up to meet the Sharks in Durban in Sunday’s Super Rugby duel.

Hodgson recovered from a concussion sustained in the dying minutes of the game against the Cheetahs and will retain his position alongside fellow Australian internationals David Pocock and Richard Brown.

Force forwards coach Nick Stiles said the team had put the disappointment of the four-point loss to the Cheetahs behind them and were keen to finish their South African tour on a high.

“It’s good to have the same 22 and have that continuity with our game plan,” Stiles said. “We’re starting to see some growth through our backs so we’ll definitely look to attack a lot more than last week.

“Hodgson has pulled up really well. He has been step-loaded back into his training and each day he’s done more and more and he’ll train fully today and be a definite starter.”

Stiles said the Force were prepared for a strong battle up front with the imposing Sharks forward pack.

“Their scrum is very strong. I think it’s the strongest South African scrum so, up front, they’re very physical,” he said.

“They’re very abrasive with their tackling and the work they do at the breakdown so it’s a really good challenge for us with their physicality.”

Force: Pek Cowan, Nathan Charles, Salesi Ma’afu, Toby Lynn, Nathan Sharpe, Richard Brown, David Pocock (capt), Matt Hodgson, Brett Sheehan, David Harvey, Napolioni Nalaga, Winston Stanley, Nick Cummins, Sam Wara, Alfie Mafi. Res: Elvis Taione, Salesi Manu, Phoenix Battye, Lachlan McCaffrey, Josh Holmes, Ben Seymour, Rory Sidey.

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