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Super Rugby: Beale returns in basement battle

The bottom two in the Super Rugby Pacific standings meet in Perth on Saturday, with both Western Force and Crusaders having won just one out of seven so far this season.

The home side need to show a major response after being thrashed 50-3 by the Blues last time out, while Crus will have taken some time to recover from a 43-40 golden point loss to the Waratahs in their previous fixture.

And Force will have a very famous name in place at fullback to try and breath life into a season which is so far promising to go nowhere.

. What: Western Force v Crusaders
. Where: HBF Park, Perth
. When: 20:35, Saturday 20th April 2024
. How to watch: Stan Sport
. Odds: Western Force 5.00, Tie 34.00, Crusaders 1.16

Beale back in Super Rugby action

Kurtley Beale has been named at fullback for the Force and will make his first appearance in Super Rugby for four years and the 95-time capped Wallaby has set his sights high on his return to action.

He recently told AFP: "I feel like I've got a lot to add to the game. I'm very thankful for the opportunity here and I'm just really excited for the challenge ahead.

"(Force are) quite a young group, young guys aspiring to be rugby players who don't really get that much opportunity to interact with international players."

Elsewhere, head coach Simon Cron has recalled Argentinian Santiago Medrano at tighthead prop after he sat out the Blues thrashing due to head injury protocols and Will Harris starts at blindside flanker, with Izack Rodda fit enough for the bench.

Force have lost their last six meetings with Crus and the pair are the two lowest try-scorers in the competition so far this season, while the hosts at least know that they won their last home game - 40-31 against the Reds.

Force are 2.40 to score first against Crus, while a total of under 8.5 tries in the game is priced at 2.00 and the home side are 9.50 to win the game by a margin of 1-5 points.

Penney makes changes to freshen Crus

Crusaders head coach Rob Penney has made six changes to his starting XV as he tries to get his side going and shake things up after the heartbreaking loss to the Waratahs.

Christian Lio-Willie has been preferred to Cullen Grace in the back row, while there is a complete change of the front row, with Joe Moody, Brodie McAlister and Owen Franks all drafted in.

Mitchell Drummond and Macca Springer start in the backs, while Crus will no doubt look to the in-form Sevu Reece for attacking inspiration.

Reece has crossed six times in his last seven Super Rugby outings, including twice in the defeat to the Tahs and he is as short as 1.44 to score at anytime in Perth, while is he is available at 7.50 to score the first try of the game.

The All Blacks winger will no doubt be hoping to pierce a Force defence which has conceded 35 tries in Super Rugby already this season, which is 16 more than they have managed to score themselves.

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