Force reshuffle about preservation

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Force coach Michael Foley says fans can expect some more line-up shuffles this season, as the club manages the workload of its players.

Foley said the club had considered its heavy travel schedule, when opting to change five of his starting players this weekend.

“It’s just our team and our schedule which is a unique one and understanding we were on the east coast and we’ve come back here with a six day turnaround then we go to New Zealand next week,” he said.

“There are times where just rolling out the same XV every week, you put a lot of stress on those guys and I don’t think they get the opportunity to play at their best, which is certainly the objective for every team as a whole.”

The Force has eased World Cup Wallaby Ben McCalman back into the fold, starting him on the bench in round two, with the back rower coming off a Japanese Top League season as well as representative duties.

Foley said the switches were not necessarily a reflection of players not being up to scratch, rather the move was about maintaining a whole squad mentality.

“Once we had our schedule, we planned for this moment and it’s great to have that plan but the only way it works is if the players are performing well,” he said.

Foley said he was confident his side could improve its set piece ahead of the Brumbies clash.

The Force were beaten in the scrum by the Reds last weekend and will face another testing matchup when the ACT franchise rolls up at nib Stadium, just six days later.

“We went from meeting a very good set piece against the Rebels to the Reds and there were some things we got wrong,” he said.

“You address those things. I don’t think you’re perfect one day and not so the next.

“It’s just where are the errors and how do you fix them?.”

The Force has committed itself to an open style of play but both their defence and attack will be tested against a Brumbies side that has proven its chameleon tendencies in the first two rounds.

It’s the opposition’s speed that concerns Foley most, with in-form winger Joe Tomane proving himself a major threat.

After a try blitz to open the season, the Brumbies ground out a win over the Waratahs, ultimately scoring four tries in that match but Foley said they would not be forgetting their opposition’s most vicious weapon.

“They play with great speed,” he said.

“They take the gain line, they recycle very quickly...Without a doubt the speed they play is benchmark.”

“The thing people overlook a lot because you talk about the way they play at speed, but their biggest point scoring source is the maul and the lineout specifically.

“So, that’s a platform for them that they want to launch attack off whether it’s maul or running plays.”

The Force takes on the Brumbies at nib Stadium on Friday night, 10:05pm AEDT.