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Force's Haylett-Petty back for Blues rugby

NZN 30/03/2017 Darren Walton

Wallabies star Dane Haylett-Petty returns in one of several changes for the Western Force's Super Rugby clash with the Blues in Auckland.

A groin niggle sidelined Haylett-Petty from last week's 45-17 loss to the Crusaders. The dynamic fullback will be a vital inclusion at Eden Park as the Force try to end a three-game losing streak.

Veteran flanker Matt Hodgson regains the No.7 jumper, while Tetera Faulkner comes back into the starting front row, replacing Jermaine Ainsley, who dislocated his elbow in Christchurch.

After making his Super Rugby debut against the Crusaders, Richie Arnold has been given his first start in the second row.

Inside centre Bill Meakes has been recalled after recovering from an ankle injury, with Marcel Brache moving to outside centre.

Curtis Rona is unavailable after suffering a concussion against the Crusaders.

Anaru Rangi - another product of Perth's local club rugby - is set to play his first match of the season, while Australian under-20s sensation Shambeckler Vui is in line to make his Super Rugby debut off the bench.

"We know that to turn around the outcome of last week, we need to be a lot better in a number of key areas - not least our defence," said coach Dave Wessels.

"It's great to have the experience of Dane, Billy and 'Hodgo' back in the side this week."

The Force have a point to prove after reportedly being targeted as the Australian team set to be cut from the competition in 2018 under SANZAAR's plans to revamp the tournament with a new format.

"The boys have trained really hard this week under difficult circumstances and I couldn't be more proud to be part of this team," Wessels said.

Force:

Dane Haylett-Petty, Chance Peni, Marcel Brache, Billy Meakes, Alex Newsome, Jono Lance (capt), Ryan Louwrens, Isi Naisarani, Matt Hodgson, Ross Haylett-Petty, Richie Arnold, Matt Philip, Tetera Faulkner, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Ben Daley.

Res: Anaru Rangi, Pek Cowan, Shambeckler Vui, Richard Hardwick, Kane Koteka, Michael Ruru, Ian Prior, Robbie Coleman.

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