Sias not Force's saviour

Wed, 13 Mar 2013 10:32
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Former Baby Bok Sias Ebersohn may have impressed in his Force debut, but he is not the saviour that will lead them out of the Super Rugby wilderness.

Former Baby Bok Sias Ebersohn may have impressed in his Western Force debut, but he is not the saviour that will lead them out of the Super Rugby wilderness.

The winless Force, who have four points for a bye (a SANZAR abomination) and a losing bonus point from their three matches this season, travel to Brisbane this week to take on the Reds on Saturday.

To add to their problems wing Nick Cummins and lock Sam Wykes have already been ruled out, while captain Matt Hodgson is also a doubtful starter.

Cummins has been battling inflammation in his knee for some weeks now, while Wykes suffered a minor ankle sprain during the team's 36-26 loss to the Bulls a fortnight ago. Hodgson faces a race against time to recover from a hamstring injury.

Complicating matters for Hodgson is the impending birth of his first child, who is expected any day from now.

Hodgson didn't fly with the rest of the squad to Brisbane on Wednesday, but is still a slight chance of making the trek east later in the week.

However, the Force fans have found a new hero on the 24-year-old former Cheetahs flyhalf, Ebersohn, who was a revelation against the Bulls - returning a 16-point haul in his run-on debut for the franchise a fortnight ago.

Force coach Michael Foley has warned against expecting too much of their South African import, saying the Force needed more than just a good kicking game to get the win against Queensland.

"Sias Ebersohn is a very impressive young No.10," Foley told the Australian Associated Press.

"In South Africa for a short time, he was seen as the next best thing," Foley said of Ebersohn - who represented South Africa at schoolboy and Under-20 level, as well as playing five seasons at the senior provincial level.

"Often, young players get enormous pressure put on them, which is unfair," Foley told AAP.

"Sias Ebersohn is not the saviour for the Force.

"It's going to be a whole team performance that gets us results."

Ebersohn joined the Western Force from the Cheetahs this year, having linked up with the Western Australian franchise as one of their foreign developing players.

Having made his Super Rugby debut for the Cheetahs against the Bulls in 2010, Ebersohn started slipping down the pecking order last year after Springbok Johan Goosen burst onto the scene.

After missing a sitter against the Highlanders, which effectively cost his team the game, his goal-kicking and the rest of his game appeared to unravel.

He was eventually replaced by bit-part utility Riaan Smit and then opted to move to Perth.

However, his excellent tactical kicking and ability to direct play again came to the fore as the Force ran the Bulls close for 70 minutes - only to concede two late tries and lose 26-36.

* Meanwhile Foley revealed that Patrick Dellit is in line to replace Cummins on the wing, while the Force are spoilt for choice in the back row, with the likes of Richard Brown, Alcock, Ben McCalman and Angus Cottrell among the options.

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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 16 11 0 5 52
Brumbies 16 9 0 7 47
Rebels 16 7 0 9 36
Reds 16 4 0 12 22
Force 16 3 0 13 19
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
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Chiefs 16 10 0 6 48
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Team P W D L Pts
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Lions 16 9 1 6 42
Bulls 16 7 0 9 38
Sharks 16 7 0 9 34
Cheetahs 16 5 0 11 26