nib Stadium, Perth, Saturday 7.40pm (AEST)
Last meeting: Round 16 2011 - Force 21 bt Highlanders 14 at Carisbrook Stadium
Head-to-head: Played 6 Force 4 Highlanders 2
In Perth: Played 2 Force 1 Highlanders 1
Referee: Andrew Lees (AUS)
TV: Live, FoxSports 2
TAB Sportsbet: Force $1.63 Highlanders $2.20
Steve Samuelson writes: Both teams are almost certain to finish last in their respective conferences, but bottom spot on the overall ladder beckons for the loser. The Force have won the past four clashes between the two teams.
AAP writes: This could be the wooden spoon game right here. With only a few rounds remaining, the Force sit just three points above the last-placed Highlanders, although the Perth-based franchise can look forward to a guaranteed four points when their bye comes up soon.
The Force were made to pay for poor option-taking in last week’s loss to the Sharks, and they’re determined to put in a far more clinical effort this Saturday. The Highlanders will be boosted by the return of powerful centre Ma’a Nonu for their final game of a three-match road trip.
HIGHLANDERS: Ben Smith, Jason Emery, Tamati Ellison, Ma’a Nonu, Hosea Gear, Hayden Parker, Aaron Smith, Mose Tuiali’i, John Hardie, TJ Ioane, John Bekhuis, Brad Thorn (captain), Ma’afu Fia, Liam Coltman, Tony Woodcock. Reserves: Andrew Hore, Bronson Murray, Joe Wheeler, Elliot Dixon, Fumiaki Tanaka, Colin Slade, Tino Nemani/Trent Renata.