Waratahs flyhalf Bernard Foley says NSW can’t afford to give the Force an emotional advantage in their final 2017 Super Rugby match.
Saturday night’s game could be the final match in the Force’s history, though that won’t be known either way for at least two weeks beyond this clash, with Rugby WA set for arbitration with the ARU beginning on July 31.
Add to that the final game of club stalwart and fan favourite Matt Hodgson and the stakes for the WA side, already one of the gutsiest teams in Super Rugby, are clear.
The Waratahs could be accused of appearing to be at the other side of the spectrum, as they prepare for the last game in a year where they have lacked consistency and success.
Foley said, though, that they viewed this as one final 2017 chance to show their dedication to the cause.
“The emotion or that passion - they (the Force). don't have a mortgage on it just because it could be their last game or they've got the home crowd,” he said.
“I don't think the emotion, the passion, the pride just belongs to them. For us, we've got just as much to play for.
“(After) a season that hasn't gone our way or the results haven't gone the way we wanted, (that) doesn't mean we can't finish this season off well.
“The supporters have probably been asking questions around that area throughout the season which has been disappointing from a players' perspective and it's something we've spoken about and we want to rectify.”
This is not the first time Foley has found himself in a dismal Super Rugby year, having been a part of the 2012 Waratahs who won just four games under Michael Foley, but the playmaker said they had to grow from there.
“It was my first full season with the Waratahs, it was a really challenging time coming in as a young guy and not really knowing and expecting such a competitive environment and then going out there and not getting results,” he said.
“Now being an older bloke being more of a leader or a senior player ,you scratch your head a few more times and you keep looking at things you could've done differently, you keep reviewing your own personal decisions or your own personal preparation or how the team could've developed or what we could've done differently.
“It's a bit of soul searching but it's time for growth.”
Waratahs youngster Ned Hanigan is the next generation in the spot Foley was in five years ago, but said the farewell for Waratahs trio Dean Mumm, Rob Horne and the injured Will Skelton would be drive enough.
“I remember being a young bloke watching those guys come through the ranks and play, play here (in Sydney), play Test footy.
“What more motivation do you need?”
Whatever the result on Saturday night, that question will have a telling answer.
The Waratahs take on the Force on Saturday night, kicking off at 7:45pm AEST LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO.