McMeniman to start for Force
February 14, 2013
Hugh McMeniman will take his first step toward a Wallabies recall when he returns for Western Force against Melbourne Rebels in the Super Rugby season-opening fixture at AAMI Park clash on Friday.
Force coach Michael Foley will look to McMeniman to lead by example against the Rebels, particularly in the absence of injured skipper Matt Hodgson and the loss of Wallabies Nathan Sharpe (retirement) and David Pocock (Brumbies).
McMeniman, 29, spent the past three years season in Japan after shoulder and knee injuries over five seasons with Queensland limited his playing time to 29 appearances and 21 Wallabies caps.
Force coach Michael Foley said the 114kg powerhouse had the ability to play for the Wallabies again, with Test coach Robbie Deans seemingly agreeing by including him in the train-on squad.
"Nothing's changed too much about Hugh," Foley said.
"He's a couple of years older but he's still the guy who plays with unbelievable fearlessness. He has almost no regard for his body, which we've tried to temper a little, bit but once he gets on the field there's no hesitation."
Foley worked with Hugh McMeniman back in 2007, as a Wallabies assistant, and said the time the player had spent in Japan had given him a real hunger to play again.
"What's impressed me more than anything now is his level of professionalism," he said. "I think he maybe used to cut a few corners in terms of his preparation and doing all the things to get his body right. Now he has a real hunger to test himself and play for Australia again."
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