8 Apr 2011

Ripia to start for Force

6:09 am on 8 April 2011

The Western Force recruit Willie Ripia will make his long awaited debut for the Super Rugby club tomorrow night after being named to start against the New South Wales Waratahs.

The former Hurricanes playmaker moves directly into flyhalf after sitting out the club's opening six games with a niggling foot injury but has trained fully in the past fortnight to prove he is ready for the rigours of Super Rugby.

Ripia's inclusion has enabled Head Coach Richard Graham to rejig his backline with star youngster James O'Connor moving from 10 to fullback while Cameron Shepherd and David Smith will start on the wings.

Ripia, who played five seasons in New Zealand before heading west, was in superb condition to make a big impact for the Western Force before suffering an injury in the club's opening trial match against the Australian Barbarians in late February.