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Force complain about 'tough draw'

Mon, 06 May 2013 09:46
Michael-foley-with-force-pl Force-v-reds Michael-foley-h_s Ben-mccalman-try-force-v-re Michael-foley-ball
This team has been significantly disadvantaged by the scheduling
Quote-end

Western Force coach Michael Foley believes his team has been given the short end of the stick in the Super Rugby draw.

Speaking to the Australian media, ahead of his team's trip to New Zealand and an encounter with the Chiefs in Pukekohe on Friday, Foley bemoaned what has been termed "another gruelling trek" across the Tasman Sea.

This follows a fortnight after their loss to the Hurricanes in Wellington and two matches on Australian soil - a loss to the Brumbies in Canberra and a draw with the Reds in Perth.

The Force named a 24-man touring squad for the side's Week 13 Super Rugby match against the Chiefs.

Flank Angus Cottrell and centre Chris Tuatara-Morrison join the 22-man squad that played out an 11-all draw with the Reds at the weekend.

The Force flew out for Auckland on Monday.

Foley believes his team have been "dudded" on the fixture front.

The redevelopment of their home ground in Perth meant the Force's early-season fixtures were a "nightmare", with the Perth-based franchise unable to play at home until Round Six.

That resulted in the Force travelling to Melbourne, South Africa and Brisbane in the first five weeks, before returning to Perth to take on the Cheetahs for their first home game.

Foley understands exceptional circumstances were behind that hectic travel schedule.

But the Force feel aggrieved they've only been given a six-day break to make the trek from Perth to New Zealand for Friday's clash with the Chiefs in Pukekohe.

And instead of staying on in New Zealand for another game, or playing an east-coast team on the way back home, the Force will return all the way back to Perth for a home match against the Sharks.

"This team has been significantly disadvantaged by the scheduling this year," Foley told the Australian Associated Press.

"A six-day turnaround into the Chiefs - we can't necessarily do a significant amount of training in the time that we have.

"If the tournament organisers can give us a schedule that's a little bit more even-handed, that would be good.

"I just have a lot of admiration for Hodgo [Matt Hodgson] and the boys having to cope with some of that scheduling."

Western Force squad: Chris Alcock, Richard Brown, Angus Cottrell, Pek Cowan, Nick Cummins, Pat Dellit, Sias Ebersohn, Tetera Faulkner, Kyle Godwin, Jayden Hayward, James Hilterbrand, Matt Hodgson (captain), Ben Jacobs, Kieran Longbottom, Toby Lynn, Ben McCalman, Alby Mathewson, Sam Norton-Knight, Junior Rasolea, Brett Sheehan, Heath Tessmann, Chris Tuatara-Morrison, Rory Walton, Sam Wykes.

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