Force "embarrassed" by poor showing

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

A short turnaround, ill-health and misguided game plan were all major factors in the Force's loss to the Highlanders.

That's the view of a disappointed Dave Wessels, who was honest about his team's worst performance of the season post match.

"I didn't think we played well at all," the Force coach said.

"I thought we were passive from the start of the game, behind the pace of the game from the first whistle, really.

"I also think in the slippery conditions we tried to play too much rugby and tried to be too clever without being tough enough.Dave Wessels gave an honest assessment post match. Photo: Getty Images"What we needed to do was to set a platform, get some go forward and play smarter rugby.

"In these conditions it was about intensity and it was about go forward and we didn't have either of those - they did."

Skipper Billy Meakes summed the performance up best.

"This review process needs to be pretty honest because tonight was pretty embarrassing for us."

The Force were always going to struggle to lift after the draining South Africa-Argentina road trip but they were extremely flat in front of their home fans.

Wessels didn't want to make excuses for his side but said adjustments had to be made going forward.The Highlanders left the Force in the dust last night. Photo: Getty Images"We've had to travel around the world in the last two weeks and we have to look not only at the game but also the intensity of our prep over the last couple of days.

"I know our boys, their hearts are in the game.

"I have no questions about their intentions.

"But I just think we need to learn actually how to manage games better and our prep better to actually get the outcome that we want

"We've got to learn what the critical things are in a shortened week that we have to get across - those sort of things.

"They're big learnings for us and it's important we recognise what those things are."

Despite the heavy defeat, Wessels harbours no doubts about his team's ability to bounce back ahead of a must win clash with the Reds on Friday.

"The boys in that change room are very down and very upset with that performance," he said.

"As a coach that's a very good sign because you know you have the right people.

"What we need to do now is just learn how to channel ourselves in the right way and get our preparation right so we can win consistently."